One of the most common health complications in humans can also affect our pets. Like us, cats and dogs can become overweight, and the long-term implications for their health can include:
- Increased risk of heart disease, cancer, and diabetes
- Impacts on joint health
- Higher risks when undergoing anesthesia
- A shorter lifespan
Unfortunately, excess fat is not just uncomfortable. Carrying extra fat can increase inflammation in the body, trigger hormone imbalances, and cause oxidative stress. One study in Labrador retrievers found that dogs who become just moderately overweight lived an average of two years less than dogs who did not become overweight.
You obviously want to protect your pet’s health, and luckily in the case of cats and dogs obesity is much easier to prevent than in humans! After all, they depend upon you to determine their lifestyle. Take these simple measures to keep your pet’s weight under control.
Determine the appropriate amount and type of food for your pet. Let’s discuss this issue at your next appointment. We can help you choose an appropriate food and determine the correct serving size.
Measure your pet’s food. Don’t try to “eyeball” it. In most cases, cats and dogs need smaller servings than we think.
Limit treats. You understandably want to offer your pet the occasional treat, but again, watch the serving size. Treats should be limited to behavioral motivations, and not given freely multiple times per day.
Encourage exercise. Walk your dog once or twice per day, purchase toys that encourage exercise for your pets, and play with them daily. Like us, pets will tend to lie around relaxing if they aren’t motivated to get off the couch!
Finally, make an appointment with us to discuss your pet’s weight if you feel concerned. We can offer more guidance uniquely geared to your cat or dog’s needs.