Some of the most important things you can do to extend the number of happy healthy years you enjoy with your pet involve providing regular exercise, love and attention, a high quality balanced diet, and keeping your pet’s body condition score at a 4-5 out of 9. About 40% of pet cats and dogs are considered overweight, and in our experience many owners aren’t aware of it. We see it as an important part of our job to teach you about the benefits of weight management and what a healthy weight looks and feels like! We will show you how to body condition score during an appointment, and can give you a link that illustrates it nicely.
It is a proven fact that on average an animal who is at an ideal weight will live longer and have more disease free years than one who is overweight. One study showed about two more years of healthy, quality years in dogs scoring about 5/9!! 2-4 pounds may not sound like a lot of extra weight, but for a small dog or cat those pounds can be equivalent to 20- 100 extra pounds excess in a human!! A few extra pounds can be significant, and even a small weight loss can be of significant benefit to your pet.
In general, overweight pets are less mobile, less active and groom themselves less often than pets of a healthy weight. In short, they have a poorer quality and quantity of life than fit pets. Excess weight increases the risk of several disease conditions, or increases the severity of symptoms when the condition is already present:
- Patellar luxation (slipped knee caps)
- Tiredness and shortness of breath
- Heart and lung problems
- Arthritis, herniated discs or ruptured ligaments
- Heat stroke
- Liver disease
- Increased surgical and anesthetic risk
- Increased problems with pregnancy and delivery
There are some health conditions that can cause weight gain and/or difficulty losing weight, so if your pet has other symptoms related to one or more of these conditions we may recommend the appropriate testing– usually a simple blood test with results the same day!
Sometimes weight loss in your pet is a matter of cutting out treats that are much much higher in calories than you ever imagined, exercising a bit more and feeding a little less of their regular diet. However, if you have tried this, if your pet is obese, has other health conditions worsened by being heavy, or requires surgery in the near future, we will design a free custom weight program for your pet with a veterinary exclusive weight loss diet.
- Nutritional Consults
- Weight Management Programs
- Body Condition Scoring
- Choosing a Pet Food
- Raw, All Natural and Grain-Free Diets