Over Christmas we often spoil ourselves rotten; between treats and presents, it is certainly the time of year where we let ourselves live a little. Naturally (not wanting them to miss out on the fun) we often spoil our pets too. This can lead to the same health complications that we sometimes suffer from: Obesity, Joint Conditions and poor Cardio. However, all is not lost. There are steps you can take to get your pet back on the right track, but before we get there, let’s dive deeper into the cause and effects of pet obesity.
What is Pet Obesity?
Just like us humans, pets can become overweight too. In-fact, it’s far easier in this day and age for pets to become obese! From a never-ending choice of tasty treats, to not feeding your pet the right food; animal obesity is sometimes lurking around the next corner.
We classify a pet as obese when its bodyweight is 20% above that of its ideal bodyweight (whether for size or breed). One of the two major reasons for the problem is that many owners think that a chubby pet is a happy pet and they want to reward their pet for being good or cute. Food is a great reward. However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Your pet should look lean and fit, but not starving either. In essence, looking after your best friend’s weight is like walking a fine line – as is common with most pet related things, vigilance is key to make sure you don’t lead your pet astray.
Health Risks Associated with Pet Obesity
In the same way weight can affect us, weight can affect pets. Most commonly, an overweight pet will suffer from lethargy, lack of drive or unwillingness to exercise, heart trouble (in severe or neglected cases) and all around poor health. In cases of surgery, we sometimes cannot operate on pets who are overweight as the added weight can have adverse effects on the successful completion of the operation. Overweight pets will also suffer joint pain where there was none before, simply due to having to carry the extra load. This is especially prevalent in dogs who are moving into the later stages of their lives, and no amount of glucosamine and chondroitin is going to be able to fix it, unless you tackle the problem at the source!
Identifying Pet Obesity
Diagnosing a pet as obese often comes as a result of a Vet check for a different ailment altogether. If your pet is diagnosed as overweight, the last thing you want (or need) to do is panic. Don’t rush to your nearest pet shop and buy any-old food that’s suited for weight-loss or maintenance. The best thing you can do is listen to your Vet. They’ll be able to tell you exactly what your pet needs. In many cases with us, the first and most important thing we will recommend is exercise and a cutback on foods and treats with excessive amounts of fat. Devilishly simple? It is. Exercise is the best way (for both pet and owner) to lose weight and stay in healthy shape.
With years of valuable experience, we’ll be able to tell you if your pet needs a dramatic change to their lifestyle or whether a simple cutback is all that’s required. If it is indeed the former and there is no obvious medical condition responsible for your pet’s obesity.
We’ll recommend a suitable food for your pet and a simple exercise plan, courtesy of our trained Health Professionals, who will also provide you with the necessary knowledge and templates in order to keep track of your pet’s weight.
If you’ve already opted into our Pet Health Plan, your pet will receive free veterinary consultations all year-round. You’ll also get a tasty 20% off on all Royal Canin pet diets. The plan also includes unlimited, free vet appointments, vaccinations and annual blood tests; perfect for keeping your pet’s health in check all year.
So, with all of that being said, this is the best time for you to get your pet back onto the road to good health, especially after the festive period!