Management Plans of Overweight Pets

Recent studies have shown that up to a third of Australian cats and dogs are now considered overweight. Dogs are more likely than cats to have weight problems, and pets that are older, neutered or live in single-pet households are also more at risk. Unfortunately, certain breeds are more prone to obesity but this doesn’t mean it can’t be avoided.

Here’s some information on diagnosing and treating obesity in your pets.

Is My Pet Overweight?

To check if your pet is overweight, start by feeling around their ribcage and spine. In a healthy animal, you should be able to feel their bone structure through only a thin layer of fat. If you can’t find the ribcage at all then you definitely have an overweight pet.

 

If you know the optimal weight for your pet’s age and breed, then you can weigh them at home. Step on a scale to read your own weight and then step back on while holding your pet – their weight will be the difference between the two sums. As a general rule, if your pet is up to 15% over their optimal weight they are considered overweight. Above 15% is categorised as obese.

 

What Are the Risks?

An overweight pet has a shorter life expectancy and a poorer quality of life overall than a pet of a healthy weight. The health risks to an overweight animal include arthritis, diabetes, heart disease and respiratory problems. In addition to these, carrying that extra weight around will cause excessive wear on your pet’s joints and ligaments. Not only will your pet be less happy but it could leave you with huge costs in surgical bills and additional veterinary visits.

 

Step One – Diet

 The first step in managing your pet’s weight is to get everyone in the household on board with the diet plan. Make sure no one is going to feel sorry for your overweight pet and sneak it extra treats or supplementary food as this will make it harder to achieve weight loss goals. Get advice from your vet on how much energy your furry friend needs from food and make sure they are still getting the nutrition they need while on their new diet. Portion control is an easy way to lower calorie intake so try cutting daily food intake by 20-30% as a first step. For help and guidance, sign up for Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital’s free weight loss clinics for pets.

 

Step Two – Exercise

The second part of the weight management plan is to increase exercise. For dogs, this is a simple matter of taking longer and more frequent walks, but for cats, it’s a little trickier. Try adding height to your cat’s play area with vertical scratching posts and playing areas. Invest in a few more toys and encourage the whole family to play with the cat as much as possible. Bring out its natural instinct to hunt using lights, wands and other moving objects. Make meal times into an aerobic adventure by dividing food into smaller portions and hiding them around the house.

 

Maintaining Healthy Weight

Once you begin to achieve success in your pet’s weight management plan, it’s crucial to maintain this new routine. Continue to keep treats to a minimum and get as much exercise as possible. Getting the whole family into the habit of looking after your pet’s health is essential for maintaining weight loss.

If you’re interested in discussing a diet plan for your pet, call Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital providing veterinary services to Port Kennedy and surrounding Perth suburbs now or visit our contact page for more ways to get in touch.

Pet Nutrition Basics

If you’re a pet owner, it’s your responsibility to make sure your dog or cat is getting the level of good food and nutrition they need to maintain good health and strong bodies.

In the same way that humans rely on food for energy, minerals and vitamins, your pet’s diet is the fundamental basis of good health and vitality. You’ll need to be aware of the importance of certain food groups and nutrients in their diet for optimal pet wellbeing.

Read on for more information about feeding your pet, to make sure your pet is eating a well-balanced and nutritional diet.

Providing Proper Nutrients for Your Pet

All animals require a balanced diet containing 6 basic nutrients.

Proteins, fats and carbohydrates provide our bodies with energy, while vitamins, minerals and water are necessary for other metabolic needs.

Read on to see why each nutrient is so important for your pet’s overall health.

  • Proteins – essential source of amino acids, required by both cats and dogs, with cats needing twice as much protein as dogs!
  • Fats – the most important source of energy for animals
  • Carbohydrates – an important energy source for dogs primarily, providing fibre and calories; too many carbs will be stored as fat in dogs and cats and can lead to obesity
  • Vitamins – healthy coat, nails, and assists in food digestion for healthy bones
  • Minerals – providing levels of sodium, magnesium and iron, for example
  • Water – the most critical ingredient, water accounts for between 60 to 70% of an adult pet’s body weight

A Balanced Diet for Your Pet

As you can see, it’s very important to cover all nutrients to ensure your pet’s wellbeing.

You can do this by providing a well-balanced diet that includes the major food groups needed by dogs and cats. You can achieve this with high quality premium pet food brands appropriate for the age and lifestyle of your pet.

Natural foods, in the way of raw meats, bones and vegetables, can be used to supplement pet diets. It’s best to choose high-grade raw meats that are suitable for human consumption, for the best nutritional value.

Professional Guidance for Your Pet’s Diet

If you’ve noticed your pet is sluggish, low in energy or carrying a lot of excess weight, it’s probably best to talk to a qualified veterinarian about improving their diet. Your vet will recommend foods designed for your lifestyle and to help assist treatment of chronic conditions.

It’s always good to get regular vet check-ups for your pet as well, as preventative healthcare contributes to a happier, healthier life for your best mate.

At Port Kennedy Veterinary Hospital, your pet can receive regularly professional care under an affordable monthly payment system that suits your budget and guarantees ongoing good health for your cat or dog.

Offering a range of wellness packages, your pet will receive regular check-ups to ensure ongoing good health, and prevent illness and disease. With compassionate and skilled vets always on hand to offer you guidance on areas such as diet and nutrition, you know your pet will be in good hands.