Human obesity has been an issue that has been on the rise for years and now it seems that pets are along for the ride. More than half of the dogs and cats in the United States are considered to be obese. Much like in humans, obesity can affect the heart and lungs by putting added strain on these vital organs. Arthritic patients suffering from obesity often endure more pain and decreased mobility. Other illnesses, such as diabetes are also affected by obesity. The list goes on and on. The question becomes what to do about your pet’s obesity. The first and most important step to decreasing the hazards of obesity is to take your pet to visit their veterinarian. Determining the cause of obesity isn’t always as simple as looking at how much food a pet consumes. Ensuring that the obesity is not secondary to another medical condition can be critical in decreasing your pet’s weight. Next, discuss current diet and exercise levels with your pet’s veterinarian. Establishing obtainable goals will decrease frustration for both you and your pet while keeping their best interest in mind. Remember that even small amounts of your pet’s weight are a large percentage of their overall body weight because pets in general weigh less than their human companions. Therefore, a dog that weighs 70 pounds and needs to lose 7 pounds is basically like a human that weighs 140 pounds needing to lose 14 pounds. Remember to start slowly with exercise and build up to longer periods of activity. Perhaps a simple walk around the block with your dog or a game of chase the laser light with your cat every evening. Every step you take is one that means a longer and healthier life for your companion.
Ask us at Animal Central for more information regarding the hazards of obesity or visit: http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health/Pet-Obesity-Danger.aspx
Dr. George Stroberg, DVM and Staff