Tackling podgy pooches and flabby felines
As summer hopefully approaches, we are bombarded by magazine articles offering tips on achieving ‘The Perfect Beach Body’, so I wanted to write this month about the problem of overweight pets.
According to a recent survey by the PDSA, over a third of dogs in the UK are overweight or obese. Cats don’t fare much better, with 1 in 4 tipping the scales into the red.
There are a number of reasons for this:
Firstly, animals, like their owners, are leading more sedentary lifestyles. Cats and smaller breeds of dog are more popular than ever, as apartment dwellers and people with busy lifestyles seek animal companions that require less exercise for their wellbeing. Small dogs are happy to be carried around in their owners’ arms but that doesn’t do much for their waistlines. Similarly, cats burn a lot less calories sitting on windowsills looking out at trees, than actually getting out and climbing them!
Secondly, poor diet can contribute to weight gain. Your dog might love that cheap canned food but quite often, these foods are filled with fats to make them taste delicious and mask poorer quality ingredients. A better food needn’t cost the earth but will have many health benefits in the long term. Human food can contain too many calories for small pets, so regular treats like cheese should be kept to a minimum.
Animals, like humans, become more prone to potentially life threatening diseases as they get fatter. These include:
•Diabetes: problems with sugar digestion mean that they drink and pee a lot and can also become lethargic and even slip into comas if untreated.
•Heart Disease: as animals get heavier, their hearts have to work harder, resulting in coughing, wheezing and even collapse.
•Arthritis: with more weight to carry, the hips and other joints are under more pressure, resulting in cartilage damage and arthritis. As the joints become sore, animals are less able to exercise and so the weight gain continues.
So what can I do about my podgy pooch or flabby feline?
•Firstly, prevention is better than cure. Regular exercise and a good balanced diet will help keep those waistlines trim. If you think your pet is looking pudgy, call us today for advice and a free weight check. Animals of different ages and breeds will have different requirements from their diets so it is important that you are feeding the right food for your particular pet.
•If your pet is already overweight, we can advise on a strategy to help. We stock a full range of special foods to help shed excess kilos and keep him at his ideal size once he achieves it.
• If his weight gain is as a result of an underlying health issue such as arthritis or hormonal problems, we can investigate and offer treatment.
Above all, please don’t be embarrassed about having an overweight animal and remember that we are here to help so please contact us for advice!