Fluffy, Not Fat:  Pet Weight Management

pet weight managementAs a culture, we’ve become accustomed to seeing household pets that err a bit on the rotund side. While this makes for excellent snuggles and adorable pictures, fat isn’t any healthier for our four-legged friends than it is for us. In fact, your friends at Berkeley Veterinary Center feel that pet weight management is an important part of good pet ownership.

Where Fat Fails

There may be humor in having a couch potato cat or watching a roly poly Pug try to reach his backside, but being fat is just plain unhealthy. There are documented health risks associated with pets being overweight, including (but not limited to):

  • Increased risk for degenerative joint disease (osteoarthritis)
  • Higher risk of developing type II diabetes
  • Increased incidence of cancer
  • Higher rate of cardiac and respiratory disease
  • Hypertension

In fact, pets who are classified as obese live, on average, two years less than their healthy weight counterparts. Who doesn’t want their pet to live two years longer?

Strategies for Pet Weight Management

Pet weight management can be a tricky business. Sedentary lifestyles, overeating, and sluggish metabolisms can all come into play, making achieving a healthy weight easier said than done. That’s where we come in. Our staff is your partner in advocating for your pet’s health.

If you’re ready to develop a pet weight management strategy for your furry ward, there are a few places to start.

Know where you stand. It’s important to know where to start before diving into any type of weight management plan for your pet. Veterinarians typically grade a pet’s body condition based on a universal scoring system. A pet’s body condition score is determined by assessing things such as fat coverage over the ribs, fat deposits near the tail head, and overall silhouette. A body condition score can help determine if a formal weight management strategy is needed or not. If you’re unsure, please ask us so we can help you make the assessment and determine an appropriate goal for your pet.

Count those calories. It’s important to understand how many calories your pet needs on a daily basis in order to maintain or achieve an ideal body condition. Measuring out his or her food and taking treats and supplements into account when feeding your pet is important. If you’re unsure of your pet’s nutrient requirements or if your pet has a lot of weight to lose, please let us know. We can help you safely meet your pet’s weight management needs.

Get moving. Pets need exercise, too! In fact, most dogs need about 30 minutes of activity per day; cats benefit from three 5-minute bursts of daily play. Get creative and go for an extra walk, throw the Frisbee, or bust out that laser pointer. Ensuring your pet gets his or her exercise is important.

Come see us. Weight loss doesn’t come easily for everyone. If your pet is not losing as expected or you have obstacles (such as health conditions) that limit activity, our team is here to help. We may recommend additional steps, such as testing your pet’s thyroid, adding an arthritis medication, or starting a prescription food diet.

Being overweight is bad for us and our pets. That’s why having a good pet weight management plan is an important part of preventive care. It’s our goal to help your pet live a long, healthy life. Remember, we’re always here to help in any way possible. Don’t hesitate to contact us!

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