Pet Obesity: Make it Stop!

If you are standing and you look down at your pet, you should see a slight indentation where a waist area would be. You should also be able to palpate your pets ribs fairly easily on each side.

With pet obesity on the rise, I wanted to take a minute and talk about it. Your pet doesn’t get in the car and eat McDonalds drive through at 2 am. So chances are…if he’s overweight you can help with a diet modification.

Now this does NOT mean that everyone with an overweight pet should reduce their pet’s food. It’s always best to consult your veterinarian before any diet change. In addition, here are some general tips that I recommend if your pet is overweight:

1) Bloodwork. Your pet should have annual bloodwork done. A CBC, chem panel and a thyroid check will ensure that all his organs are functioning correctly and that his thyroid is working like it should. If your pet has an underlying organ disease (kidney, liver etc) or an under/over active thyroid, it can affect his weight.

catpet-obesity

2) Moist diet. Pets were never meant to eat dry food. Dry food is inflammatory and dehydrating over time. Would you want to eat dehydrated food every day? Well your pet doesn’t either. It doesn’t matter what brand it is…there are better choices than dry food. As a certified veterinary food therapist (CVFT), food is the first thing I change for my patients. Again, you can’t switch your pet’s food overnight. Talk to your vet and pick a moist diet that you can TRANSITION him to. Any diet change requires veterinarian supervision, weekly weigh-ins to make sure he isn’t losing/gaining too quickly, and monitoring. For more info, see our FB video on dry food below or click to visit our Youtube page HERE!

3) Exercise. Pets need daily exercise to be mentally and physically healthy. Every day your dog should go on a walk. Every day your cat should be purposefully involved in play where they move/run around. Be careful not to exercise an overweight pet outside during the summer. They are more prone to heat stroke. Try small amounts of exercise in the am (early sun) or after sunset. Start slowly and work your way up. Example: try 2 minutes of walking/indoor play, then add a minute each day until you get to 15.

VetNaturally offers supervised plans for anyone with an overweight pet. Chances are, your veterinarian does too. If you are reading this blog, you already have one positive step toward success. When you know better, you do better. Together we can do better

Dr. Ashley Geoghegan

Dr. Ashley Geoghegan, known affectionately as Dr. G, has spent a lifetime devoted to animal care. Dr. G graduated from the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine and served in the U.S. Army as a veterinary officer. At VetNaturally™, she practices Integrative Medicine, which is a combination of Traditional Chinese Veterinary medicine (TCVM) , canine rehabilitation and conventional Western medicine.