Obesity is a growing concern in household pets and has implications on the health and welfare of the animal. Obesity is a multi-factorial disease that arises from a combination of genetic, environmental and owner contributions.
Many animals have genes that predispose them to obesity but overfeeding is one of the one of the primary factors that contributes to weight gain and is in our control as humans.
Pets with lower activity levels put on weight more readily. Indoor pets will require much higher levels of activity than those allowed to roam around on farm ground. As animals get older, they become more prone to weight gain due to lack of exercise and increased arthritis.
What can be done?
Firstly, we need to determine the severity of the weight gain and out rule any disease such as thyroid or adrenal problems which may be the cause. There is a difference between overweight animals and obese animals and the degree of severity will determine how fast it can safely lose weight.
In most cases of obesity, control over what food the pet has access to is a big factor. A premium prescription diet and feeding regime can be recommended that will actively ensure weight is being lost.
Defined meals at allocated times allows you to control portion sizes and prevents grazing. Avoid the temptation to reward your pets with food scraps and treats.
Engage pets in active exercise. Adult dogs should ideally get around 60 minutes of exercise daily to maintain physical and mental health.
At Franklin Vets, we run a weight management programme. We offer regular weigh ins and provide advice to get your pet to a healthy weight.