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246 Route 101
Bedford, NH 03110
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Weighing in on Pet Obesity

November 1, 2018

With more than half of all domestic pets being overweight or obese, we’ve chosen to focus our October blog post on the prevention and management of pet obesity. If we can assist you with any questions or concerns related to your pet’s diet or weight management, please let our veterinary team know. We’re always here for you and your pet!

 

Did you realize that a 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male. A fluffy feline that weighs 15 pounds is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male?

 

Predisposing Factors

  • Overfeeding and free-feeding

    • Pets do not understand portion or calorie control. They rely on their people to provide exercise and limit their caloric intake.

  • Feeding table scraps or a non-commercial (aka home-cooked) diet

  • Sedentary lifestyle

  • Certain medical conditions such as diabetes, for example

Possible Consequences

  • Reduced longevity

    • One study reports that Labrador retriever’s whose caloric intake was carefully measured lived nearly 2 years longer than those that were free-fed

  • Breathing difficulty

  • Orthopedic disease (such as worsening arthritis) and reduced mobility

  • Increased risk of serious chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, hypothyroidism, cancer or high blood pressure

Prevention

  • Regular veterinary visits

    • During which your veterinarian will assign a body condition score to your pet, which is an assessment to help gauge if the pet is too heavy or t

       

      oo thin.

    • Your veterinarian can also help you determine your pets “ideal weight” and what the best approaches might be to reach this goal.

    • Your veterinarian will determine if lab work is indicated to rule-out underlying medical issues as possible causes of weight gain or difficulty losing weight.

  • Do not use a “self-feeder” or allow pets to “free-feed”/graze

    • Feed pets in meals and measure out portions (use an 8 ounce measuring cup - not a Big Gulp cup!). Pick up any food that is not consumed after 15-20 minutes, this way you are able to keep track of what is consumed and when.

  • Feed pets in multi-dog or cat households separately

  • Substitute healthy snacks for “junk food”

    • Healthy snacks for dogs: carrots, green beans, bell pepper, cucumber, apple (remove core/seeds), sweet potato

  • Feed a high-quality, well balanced commercial dog or cat food

    • At your next visit, ask one of our veterinarians about the brands they trust and recommend.

    • Home-cooked diets are not recommended, unless consulting with a veterinary nutritionist

  • Regular exercise

Never put your pet on a “diet” or weight loss program before consulting your veterinarian. This is because their may be an underlying medical condition contributing to their weight gain. We want to work with you to tailor a weight loss program for your pet that involves diet modification and exercise appropriate for their lifestyle and medical needs.

 

We are happy to see you and your pet anytime during regular business hours for a weight check!

 


 

Resources:

  • http://veterinarymedicine.dvm360.com/obesity-dogs-part-1-exploring-causes-and-consequences-canine-obesity?id=&sk=&date=&pageID=4

  • https://petobesityprevention.org/

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