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Animal Medical Clinic - St. Paul

Obesity in Pets

As pet owners, we are responsible for their health. We make sure they see a veterinarian when they are ill or need vaccinations. We give them lots of toys and keep them comfortable. We offer them good quality food, treats and plenty of praise. Yet, we may be killing them with kindness. Too much food and too many treats can lead to obesity.

Obesity can cause underlying health issues including diabetes, arthritis and joint problems, as well as kidney and liver disease. Obesity may also aggravate existing issues such as hip dysplasia and can contribute to knee trauma.

Pets, like humans, loose weight by expending more calories than they are consuming. Therefore, giving the correct amount of food daily is important. This means measuring the food we give, keeping track of all those treats they love to have (including the human food variety), and providing exercise. Hiding food in a toy and having your pet roll the toy to get the food out is one creative way to increase exercise.

How do you know if your pet is overweight? The Body Condition Score helps determine a pet's ideal weight. Your pet should have a definable waist and you should be able to feel the ribs easily.

Your veterinarian can help, you by examining your pet and talking about the correct steps to take to shed the pounds in a healthy way. Losing weight too quickly can cause additional health issues, especially in cats. By knowing the exact name and brand of the food you are feeding your veterinarian can calculate how many calories that food contains and how much to feed your pet for weight reduction. Sometimes bloodwork to rule out medical cause or a special weight loss prescription diet food may be necessary.

What you can do to help your pet with the battle of the bulge:

  1. Visit your veterinarian
  2. Schedule exercise time with your cat or dog.
  3. Feed the correct portion for weight reduction
  4. Keep track of your pet's progress and weigh at regular intervals
  5. Give plenty of water, love, and praise; just go easy on those rewards of the food variety.