Pet obesity is a real health concern. Obesity can lead to other diseases such as heart disease, diabetes, pancreatitis, respiratory distress and many others. One problem we commonly see in veterinary medicine, especially in large breeds and cats, is arthritis. The more weight a pet carries, the harder it is on their joints as well. We have seen some pets that are very painful and in need of surgery for relief. Once these pets lose the appropriate weight, they can often come off of long-term pain medicine as well as not need invasive procedures.
Much like humans, we live in a culture of surplus. Unfortunately, our pets are not in total control of their weight. They depend on us to feed them appropriate amounts of good quality food. We can be tempted to add variety to their diets with treats and “table food”. Not only can this cause an upset stomach but this also adds unneeded calories to their diet. Unlike popular belief, our pets do much better on one consistent diet of a good quality dog food. Their diets are so well balanced that they do not need the variety. There are several prescription weight loss diets available. However, if you are correctly measuring your pet’s food and not giving the “extras”, many times the special diets are not necessary. It is also important to have a healthy exercise routine for your pet as well. This is a great way to spend quality time with them too! If you feel you are doing all of the above recommendations and your pet is still overweight, there could be an underlying medical reason for the weight gain. We are happy to discuss our recommendations further; feel free to contact us at the Animal Hospital of Statesville.
- Dr. Gaither