New Years Resolutions for your pet

We all make New Years Resolutions for ourselves whether that’s going to the gym more, eating less chocolate or general self improvement but lets spare a minute for our pets.

One of the biggest concerns we see as vets is the increasing obesity epidemic. 36% of all dogs vets treat are obese and 29% of cats. Interestingly a survey by Petplan, one of the largest pet insurance companies, report that 70% of owners say that their animal has never been over weight.. This brief article hopefully will give readers useful information to assess whether you may have an overweight pet, and consider making a New Years Resolution for them.

Is my pet overweight?

We are often asked how the pets weight is in the consulting room but, like people, it is very hard to be guided by weight to tell if a pet is obese. This is because within each breed of cat and dog there is such a huge variation, there are tall labradors, stocky labradors, short labradors. What we try to teach owners is to look at their pets Body Condition Score. This is a system which looks at the shape of their pet, making sure there is a waist visible, the ribs are felt when stroking across the chest and there is a shape to the pet. See below for how to Body Condition Score your pet:

The above shows that 5 is the perfect BCS and 9 is a very over weight dog. Please see the following useful website:

https://www.aaha.org/public_documents/professional/guidelinesweightmgmt_bodyconditionscoring.pdf

Why is obesity in pets important?

Obesity unfortunately can make your pet prone to many diseases including; heart disease, diabetes mellitus, arthritis, respiratory distress and pancreatitis.

What can I do?

The first big impact we find with owners is cutting out all treats they give to their dogs and cats. The next step is to weigh the pets food out to check you are feeding the amount they should be eating. Just like in people it is a balance, weight is lost when the pets expend more energy than they eat. Many vets also run weight clinics to help support their owners with this task of pet weight loss. If you have any questions or want to joint a weight clinic call your local practice now.