Just like in the human world, obesity is an increasing problem for our pets. From dumpy dogs to chubby cats, rotund rabbits and hefty horses, the obesity crisis is a challenge we vets are facing daily.
One of the biggest problems is that people are now so used to seeing fat pets that they fail to recognise when their own pet is overweight.
Sadly, just like in people, being overweight can contribute to a multitude of health problems in animals including arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, breathing problems and high blood pressure, to list a few, and it will shorten a pet’s life in the long run. Many of these conditions do not manifest themselves until later in life, by which time it’s often too late to rectify. An overweight labrador will happily run about at two years old. Unfortunately, by 10, its joints will have paid the price.
It is always a sensitive subject to broach the fact of a pet being overweight, and we do our best not to offend, but sometimes it seems unavoidable, and, sadly, the people responsible for obesity in pets are their owners.
Be it too many treats and titbits, overfeeding on their normal diet, the pet scavenging or stealing food or under- exercising – the basic reason behind obesity is too much energy being taken in and not enough being used up.
The most common things I hear when mentioning a pet being overweight is that he or she “barely eats anything”, a statement which, in most cases, cannot be true. If a pet barely ate, it would not be fat.
People often just don’t realise how much their pet is actually eating, or how much they should, or shouldn’t, be eating. In many cases, owners evaluate a pet’s eating in human portions, when they do not require comparative feed amounts to us.
And one chocolate biscuit to a dog is like us eating a whole packet.
Here at Robson and Prescott, our dedicated nursing team runs free weight clinics, and we offer a multitude of diets and incentives to help with weight loss.
There is no set weight that a specific pet should be, but more a healthy weight range that they should sit within, and our staff are happy to advise on this.
We also have a fantastic hydrotherapist, Nikki, whose hydrotherapy tank with treadmill is an excellent way of exercising dogs and burning calories, especially if they have mobility issues.
If you are worried, don’t hesitate to pop in and use the scales or book an appointment at any of our branches.