Weight Management of Pets

(written by Tania Fernandez, Veterinary Nurse)

 

What causes weight gain?

 

Too Much Food

 

Over eating is the main reason why our pets become overweight. As owners we need to watch how much we feed our pets. When a pet consumes more calories than it uses, its body stores those excess calories as fat. The more fat that accumulates, the heavier your pet becomes.

 

Too Little Exercise

 

The amount of exercise or activity your pet gets makes a big difference to how much he or she weighs. Less activity means a greater risk of becoming overweight. Even a short walk a day can help with burning off those extra calories.

 

A fit pet is healthy - and happy. Being the ideal weight allows your pet to move around more freely, and get much more out of life.

 

 


 

Image source wikimedia commons

 

Age

 

Older pets can be less active so they don’t need as many calories, which means they may not need as much food per day. Regular weight checks can make sure they aren’t putting on weight.

 

Medical Problems

 

Very rarely weight gain can be associated with a medical condition that may need specific treatment.  However usually obesity predisposes animals to weight related illness such as

 

  • pancreatitis
  • diabetes
  • arthritis and joint problems
  • high blood pressure
  • skin problems
  • heart disease
 
Whatever the cause of your pet's weight gain, it is always advisable to seek the advice and support of your veterinarian.

 

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

 

You can check with your veterinary nurse or veterinarian on what an ideal weight is for your pet. Some of the signs you may see are:

  • Loss of obvious waist
  • Tight collar
  • Shortness of breath
  • Sleeping more
  • Cannot feel ribs easily when running your hand down your pet’s side
 
It is a good idea to have regular FREE weight checks at the clinic to ensure your pet is on track for their goal weight target.
 

What food do I feed?

 

If your pet is overweight, your veterinarian will prescribe you a diet they recommend with the amount per day your pet should be fed. As part of your pet's weight loss programme it is important that you pop into the clinic for FREE regular weight checks (i.e every month) so we can make any adjustments needed to amount per day, or help with exercise tips.

 

You will also be given a cup measurement specific to the food you are feeding to ensure correct amount of food per day.

 
N.B. Please feed these foods as directed. Do NOT feed other pets, that haven’t been prescribed, on obesity management food.
 
To help you see how your pet is progressing on their weight loss programme you can enter their details online. You will be able to see their weight graphs, how much food you should be feeding and get tips on exercise ideas.
 
If you are on Hills Prescription diet click the following link to go to their Pet Fit website (www.petfit.com)
 

Copyright and disclaimer