Canine and Feline Obesity
Laurel Park Animal Hospital offers nutritional counseling to help you maximize your pet's health and longevity through weight management.
An Estimated 54% of Dogs and Cats in the United States are Overweight or Obese
Effects of Obesity
- Shortened Lifespan
- Locomotion Issues
- Respiratory Issues
- Congestive Heart Failure
- Liver Disease
- Reduced Heat Tolerance
- Increased Skin Disease
- Digestive Issues
- Infectious Disease Susceptibility
- Increased Anesthetic and Surgical Risk
The primary causes of obesity are overeating and lack of exercise. When regular caloric intake exceeds the energy burned, the excess is stored as fat. As little as an extra 1 percent caloric intake can result in 25 percent increase over ideal body weight by middle age.
Most owners do not recognize that their pets are overweight until they take them to the veterinarian for another reason. Most pets begin slowly gaining weight and only a historical review of body weight reveals the insidious nature of this condition.
Weight loss should be a family effort. All members of the family must admit the animal is overweight and commit to a weight loss program. It may be helpful to maintain a log of intake (food and treats) and weight to monitor progress. It might be most effective if one person takes charge of feeding your pet, but all members can help exercising your pet.
To achieve significant weight loss, the diet sometimes must be changed to a therapeutic veterinary diet specifically designed for weight loss. Simply feeding less of your pets regular food is successful, if done properly. Owners must be willing to measure exactly the amount of food offered and minimize treats. If treats are necessary, offer low calorie snacks such as carrots or green beans.
Progress visits are essential every 4-6 weeks to monitor the weight loss since adjustments to the feeding plan are often needed. As your pet approaches ideal body weight, caloric intake must be reduced further to maintain weight loss.
Patients can come in at any time for an updated weight for free