Shocking statistics reveal that around 59% of cats and 55% of dogs in the United States are classed as being overweight or obese. It isn’t clear exactly what is causing our pets to gain excessive amounts of weight, but changes to manufactured pet foods, a willingness to give treats or human foods more readily and a lack of exercise are believed to be contributing factors.
Being overweight can have serious consequences for the health of your pet. For this reason, managing his weight should be a priority for any responsible owner. Our experienced team understands the importance of your pet to maintain a healthy weight and are pleased to offer their advice and support to you and your furry pal.
Why Is Weight Management In Pets So Important?
Just like in humans, excess weight in pets is the leading cause of the development of a variety of different health problems, many of which can result in debilitating symptoms, the need for medications and even a shortened lifespan.
Some of the conditions that can occur as a result of your pet being overweight or obese include:
- Liver dysfunction/disease
- High blood pressure
- Back problems
- Respiratory/breathing problems
- Compromised immune system
- Heat intolerance
- Urine incontinence
- Skin problems
- Decreased ability to exercise, making it even harder for him to maintain a healthy weight
- Increased risks if he needs to have anesthesia, such as for surgery or for a routine dental cleaning
- Increased risk of developing malignant tumors
The best way to keep your pet as healthy as possible and reduce his risk of developing any of the above conditions is to do everything that you can to help him maintain a healthy weight.
What Does Weight Management Involve?
Weight management involves a series of different elements, each of which our dedicated team has knowledge and experience of so that they can give you the correct advice based on the needs of your pet.
Nutrition is arguably the most important element of helping your pet to maintain his weight. The key premise of any weight management program is to make sure that your pet isn’t consuming more calories in his food than he is expelling through exercise and his general day to day movements. Unfortunately, certain types of pet food are fairly high in calories while if you feed your furbaby titbits from the human table, these are likely to be dense in calories whilst having a fairly low nutritional value.
Different pets require different nutrition at each stage of your life. Our experienced team will be able to identify your pet’s nutritional requirements and create a diet to meet them and help him reach or maintain a healthy weight.
Exercise also forms a crucial part of helping to maintain your pet’s weight as well as ensuring that he has a healthy heart and great mobility. Again, the exercise requirements of pets can vary, particularly between different breeds of dogs. Whilst some are fairly laid back and need just a couple of short walks each day, others want and need much more extensive exercise – think long hikes and agility training – to prevent them from becoming bored and gaining weight.
If your pet has health problems that are preventing him from doing a great deal of exercise, our team can help you find ways in which to incorporate physical activity into his routine. This may include low-impact exercise such as swimming.
As you might expect, it is far easier to put weight on than to lose it, so by figuring out what you need to do to help your pet maintain a healthy weight from an early age, you can prevent the need for dieting and reduce his risk of becoming unwell.
To discover more about our weight management services, please get in touch with Harbor Veterinary Clinic in Ashtabula, OH where our team will be happy to assist you 440-969-6060.