Friday, December 11, 2015

Is Your Pet Overweight?

By Alissa Hicks

We had a conversation with Dr. Missy Jewell at All Pets Veterinary Center about something she is passionate about — overweight pets.

Q: How closely should you be paying attention to your pet’s weight?
A: “The number one disease process in dogs and cats in the U.S. is obesity. Unfortunately, owners nowadays are starting to accept overweight pets as the norm. Pet owners should definitely pay attention. You should take your pet to the vet annually (more often if they’re older). Your vet should advocate for your pet and help you be aware of this issue. People should be able to easily determine if their pet is gaining weight — it’s the same way as people do.”

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, currently 52.7 percent of U.S. dogs and 57.9 percent of U.S. cats are overweight or obese.

Q: What sort of problems can an overweight pet face?
A: “Weight can affect pets just as it can people. Problems include joint pain, which can lead to injuries; diabetes; many forms of cancer; heart, respiratory, and kidney disease; and high blood pressure.

Q: What can owners do to keep pets at a healthy weight?
A: “Visit your vet for an evaluation. Talk about food — quality, amount, type (do they eat people food?), etc. Really, it comes down to calories. Also, people relate food to love because pets enjoy it so much. Don’t love your pet to death! Find another way to show them affection that won’t harm their health.

“As far as exercise, making your dog run like crazy chasing a ball when he’s overweight can lead to an injury, making matters worse. You should practice low-impact walking with your dog daily. If your cat likes to sit all day in one spot, try taking the cat to the furthest place in the house and making it walk back to that spot as often as you can during the day.”

Q: Are there certain foods that are better for your pets?
A: “Remember, cats and dogs are carnivores, so they need meat protein. Cats are not designed for large amounts of carbohydrates, which are found in most dry cat food. The best way to feed your cat is to feed her canned food. Although it might be higher in fat, it is better for your cat than dry food. Feed your cat smaller amounts of wet, canned food two to three times a day instead of leaving a bowl of dry food out for her to pick at whenever she wants.

“There are better ingredients in higher quality foods — that’s why you pay more. However, you’ll feed them less of the better stuff, and you won’t be buying food as often. It’s critical to read the labels. The ingredients on the label are listed by percentage, so the first ingredient listed is what the food contains the most of. ”

Q: How should you determine how much to feed your pet?
A: “Think of the suggested feeding amounts on the bag of pet food as a guideline. You really need to take into account the pet’s current weight, growth rate, calories per serving, etc. Puppy food and adult dog food differ greatly, so be sure to note your dog’s age as well. Just as with people, not all dogs metabolize food the same way. Keep in mind too that the recommended amount of food is in no way related to the breed of the animal.”

Q: Let’s talk food allergies. Is this common in pets?
A: “It is relatively common for food allergies and intolerances to develop in animals. These are difficult to determine, though, and it usually comes down to trial and error when trying to pinpoint. The majority of noticeable symptoms owners might recognize are skin conditions, vomiting, and diarrhea. Many allergies that develop are in response to proteins — allergies to pork, wheat, corn, or even soy. White fish, rabbit, venison, and potatoes are novel proteins to introduce to your pet if you notice an intolerance.”

No comments:

Post a Comment

You've decided to leave a comment – that's great! Please keep in mind that comments are moderated. So, please do not use a spammy keyword or domain in your comment, or it will be deleted. Let's have a meaningful conversation instead. Thanks for stopping by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...