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Do You Know If Your Pet Suffers From Obesity?

Pet Obesity is a disease that affects thousands of pets. Just like in people, it can lead to severe health problems. Find health tips and information on how to help combat this problem.

Obesity is one of the top diseases affecting our four-legged companions. What’s more important, it’s that it is easily preventable.

What is obesity? A pet is considered obese if his/her weight is more than 30% above his/her ideal weight. We estimate that 1 in 5 pets suffers from obesity.

How does my pet become obese? Obesity comes from two main factors:

  1. Excessive calorie intake: We often bond with our pets by giving them treats and even reward them with some treats. However, it’s hard to realize that a small sized treats is actually very rich in calories and can quickly lead to obesity. As pet owners we often do not use measuring cup to feed our pets, but instead scoop some dry food into a very large bowl and tend to over feed our companion.
  2. Inadequate burning of calories or lack of exercise: after a long day at work, the last thing we want to do is take our pets on a walk or play with them. So most evenings are spent cuddling on the couch watching TV while petting our dog/cat. 

Why is it so important to keep my pet lean?

Pets suffering from obesity are at high risk of developing serious illnesses such as Diabetes, severe arthritis, Cranial Cruciate Ligament Tear (knee problem)….Those illnesses can drastically shorten the life of our furry friends.

What can I do to prevent obesity and what can I do to help my pet lose weight?

The first step is to understand what your pet’s ideal weight should be. Your veterinarian can help you determine the ideal weight during a regular examination or by looking at breed charts, body condition scoring…Once the ideal weight has been established, your veterinarian can help you determine the daily calorie intake necessary to keep or reach that weight. Remember just like with us, weight loss should be slow and gradual. So make sure to weigh-in your pets every 2 weeks and discuss the results with your veterinarian.

Incorporating proper feeding habits by limiting treat intake and feeding a well balanced diet can greatly help achieve that goal. Regular exercise is also crucial to a weight loss program. Regular daily walks provide greater benefits than one long walk once a week.

Finding a support group, friends with obese pets, can help motivate you and your pet get to that target healthy weight.

Currently, you can enter a national contest: “The Biggest Shedder” and/or a local contest: “The Biggest Loser” to help your pet lose the extra pounds that makes him/her unhealthy.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Richard Mellor February 07, 2013 at 01:43 PM
Has anyone had one of those fatty cysts removed from their dog? They are not uncommon and considered no problem if not malignant. But one of my dogs has a huge one and I wondered if anyone has had one removed from their dog and if it appears to help them. I lost a dog that never came out of anaesthesia so I'm reluctant to have this one put under although the cyst doesn't appear to bother him.
Fran February 07, 2013 at 05:41 PM
I had one taken off my dog once. It was on her elbow. It was a long time ago, but I think they just gave her local anesthesia. Wasn't a big deal.
Dr.Abrams of Redwood Animal Hospital February 08, 2013 at 12:47 AM
Hello Richard. I am sorry to hear about your dog that you lost under anesthesia. Just like in human anesthesia the risks are pretty low but unfortunately there are always risks to general anesthesia. Whenever a patient goes under general anesthesia, the veterinarian will usually run bloodwork, do a complete exam and might even do radiographs. You can read one of our previous blog on the patch: http://castrovalley.patch.com/blog_posts/my-pet-is-scheduled-for-surgery-what-should-i-do As far as the "fatty tumors" or lipomas you are right, they are considered benign. However, sometimes, they can get quite large and push on adjacent structures and cause pain. I think you should have your pet checked and your veterinarian could help you determine if surgery is a good option. If you are interested you can check out our facebook page to see a very large "fatty tumor" we just removed today and that was causing discomfort in an older pet. https://www.facebook.com/RedwoodAnimalHospital As always feel free to email or post if you have any questions. Sincerely. Dr. A.

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