Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Is Your Pet Overweight?


Is your pet overweight or obese?
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), an estimated 58% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are indeed overweight or obese. Obesity can lead to an array of medical issues and addressing the issue, sooner rather than later, can have a huge impact for your pet.

Insulin Resistance and Type 2 Diabetes
High Blood Pressure
Heart and Respiratory Disease
Cranial Cruciate Ligament Injury
Kidney Disease
Many Forms of Cancer
Decreased life expectancy (up to 2.5 years)

How do I know if my pet needs to lose weight?
Here are a couple of tests you can do at home. You can also visit APOP's website, or speak to your veterinarian to determine your pet’s ideal weight.
  • Run your hands across the chest of the dog or cat. You should always be able to feel their ribs but not see them. There should never be a layer of fat over the ribs.
  • Look at the standing dog or cat from a bird's eye view. They should have what looks like a waist that tucks in right in front of the hips
Susan Davis, our Ask Ariel nutritionist, gives these tips to get pets back into shape:
Control portions. Look at everything you are feeding your pet -- pet food, treats and human food -- and reduce the amount. Use proper measuring tools. Also, food packages will recommend portions by weight ranges. Use the weight range of the overweight pet's ideal weight, not its current weight. And use the lowest suggested amount for that range. For example, if the manufacturer recommends two to three cups for dogs over 30 pounds, give the dog two cups.

• Control quality. Don't feed your pet human junk food like pizza or sweets such as baked goods, ice cream or cookies. Home-prepared meals using fresh ingredients are acceptable, Davis says. Wholesome items such as brown rice, fresh lean meats and carrots are recommended. Be sure to avoid the human foods that can be toxic to cats and dogs: grapes/raisins, mushrooms, chocolate and coffee. Tomatoes and garlic can also be toxic for cats.

• Increase exercise. Get into the habit of walking your dog every day. Getting outdoors is good for a pet's emotional health, too, giving it a chance to make social contact and find out what is going on in the neighborhood. Most dogs love to play fetch and some love to swim. Cats can stay active indoors by actively playing with their toys and “hunting” for food.