Obesity is a common nutritional disease in dogs and cats.
This condition exists when the body weight exceeds the optimum weight for the individual pet by 15% or more. Obesity is more common in older pets whose activity level has decreased, and in neutered pets. Obesity occurs more frequently in females than males.
The most practical way of evaluating your pet is to check the amount of fat over his/her rib cage. If the ribs are easily felt your pet is probably normal, but if it is difficult to feel the ribs he/she may be overweight.
Your veterinarian should examine your pet to rule out the possibility of an underlying condition such as hypothyroidism or fluid retention secondary to heart disease.
There are many health risks associated with obesity. Obese dogs and cats have a higher incidence of arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and skin problems. They are also at greater risk when undergoing anesthesia and surgery. There are many factors, heredity, sex, age, inactivity, and diet that contribute to the development of obesity. Of these, the factors you can control are exercise and diet. Overfeeding and supplementation with table scraps and treats are a major cause of obesity.
The treatment of uncomplicated obesity is to reduce the caloric intake of your pet while increasing their activity. Hickory Veterinary Hospital offers a variety of low calorie pet foods formulated for the prevention and treatment of obesity. A staff member trained in nutrition will assist you in the selection of a diet tailored to your pet’s needs. We also have a patient record and weight reduction chart that can be used to monitor your pet’s weight.