What is obesity and why does it matter so much?
Obesity is when your pet becomes overweight by more than 15% of its ideal body weight. Obesity can cause a multitude of health problems including diabetes, skin disease, heart disease and putting extra strain on their joints, particularly in those with arthritis. This can really affect your pet’s quality of life. One study even showed that dogs who maintained their ideal body weight actually lived two years longer!
Please note all of us staying indoors is not helping our Pets!! Staying indoors plus getting fatter makes arthritis worse too!!
Meet Paisley, a fat cat weighing twice its recommended weight has shed more than 3kg, thanks to a special diet plan.
Five-year-old Paisley weighed 10.75kg when she was brought to Cats Protection last year. After being put on a specially prescribed diet, she was adopted by James Frankland, 52, and is now less than 2kg away from her ideal weight.
How do I know if my pet is overweight?
If you aren’t sure, you are not alone. A recent survey showed 76% of owners were unsure if their pet was overweight and 62% had never asked for weight management advice. It is estimated that 8.5 million UK pets are currently overweight. More than three million pet cats are now overweight, with the problem becoming worse during the pandemic.
In the clinic, we use the body conditioning score (BCS) and monthly weigh-ins to monitor our pets weight. Our Vets and Nurses are always on hand to offer advice too! The following link takes you to a great tool to check your pets BCS.
Why is my pet overweight? Did you know their healthy weight is determined at birth?
If your pet is eating more calories than their body uses those extra calories will be stored as fat. Do you weigh out your pets daily ration? 32% of us do not and this can make a huge difference to daily intake. The number of fat cells your pet has was determined when they were a puppy or a kitten. Each of those fat cells changes in size depending on how much fat is stored within. The bad news is, once those fat cells are formed they become permanent. So that podgy puppy or cuddly kitten will have trouble losing weight or even maintaining a healthy weight as an adult. This is why we think it is so important to prevent obesity from the start of your pets life and continuing into adulthood. Be treat-wise too – treats should be no more than 10% of your pets daily calories, and they soon add up. A slice of buttered toast to a spaniel is the same as two bags of crisps to us. Feeding your Staffie a sausage is like us eating one and a half bars of chocolate! Take a look at the chart below from Hills pet food.
How can I avoid my pet becoming overweight?
Obesity is preventable – with a few easy steps you can help your pet maintain a healthy weight. That’s our goal, happy healthy pets.
As part of our KISSCatCare and KISSDogCare (Keep It Super Simple) we advise weighing your pet every month and keeping a record in Kgs. This way you can soon spot any extra weight creeping on! If you do have any concerns about weight loss or gain consult your veterinarian or veterinary nurse for advice.
Weigh your pets daily ration. If feeding dry food you can keep a few bits of kibble to one side as treats.
Get creative with your exercise regime. Cats love to chase laser pens and fishing toys, whilst dogs love a treasure hunt for food around the house.
Our slow feed puzzle bowl helps prevent obesity by slowing down your pets eating habits, they mimic the natural desire to forage for food. We have a dog slow feed bowl as well as our slow feed puzzle bowl for small dogs and cats. Daily rations last longer and meal times are more fun!
Click here for more info Petstoreo Slow Feed Puzzle Bowl