The New year is the traditional time when we make resolutions to adopt a healthier lifestyle and for many cat and dog owners, it is a good opportunity to review your pets weight. Weight issues are an increasingly common problem in the pet population with a recent report suggesting that as many as
50% of pets in the UK are now classified as obese.
A number of factors have contributed to the rise in pet obesity levels:
- Pet owners like to see their pet tuck into their food enthusiastically and will switch brands to find the flavour their pet enjoys the most. Food manufacturers make foods which are increasingly palatable to compete for business.
- Owners busy lifestyles often mean that pets do not receive the required level of exercise. Many people make up for not spending time with their pets by giving them food treats which further compounds the problem.
Links have now been proven between pet obesity and conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, skin disease, arthritis, lung disease etc so it is very important for your pets health to control his weight.
Since we see our pets day in, day out, sometimes it is difficult to spot a gradual weight gain. If you are concerned that your pet may be gaining weight, ask a friend who has not seen your pet for some time and they may notice the difference more easily.
Obviously different breeds are different shapes and some breeds naturally carry more fat under their skin but a good rule of thumb for most breeds are that you should be able to clearly feel the ribs when you run your hands over the chest and that there should be an obvious waist between the last rib and the hips.
If you are unsure if your pet may be overweight then it is best to seek the opinion of your Vet.
Next week I hope to discuss methods of achieving weight loss and a few tips I have picked up over the years to achieve a successful outcome.