Phone Number 02 6766 3988

Tamworth Veterinary Hospital

Back to Home

Obesity In Your Pet

by Lynette Moore - Veterinary Nurse

It is a worrying fact that Australian pets are getting fatter by the day! A staggering 41% of dogs and 33% of cats are termed obese, being greater than 15% above their ideal weight. The implications for the health of these animals are grim.

Overweight pets suffer the same healthy risks as their human counterparts – heart disease, cancer, diabetes, skin problems, increased anaesthetic risk, arthritis and reduced life expectancy.

What can be done to present this? Prevention is the best policy but overweight animals can be slimmed down with a little help from their owners.

Certain factors predispose an animal to obesity. Certain breeds of dogs such as the Labrador and Golden Retriever are prone to become overweight, as are older animals which no longer exercise and de-sexed animals which have a reduced energy requirement.

Just like us, some animals barely eat and seem to put weight on while others wolf down everything and don’t gain a kilo. However, the most common cause of weight gain is feeding too many calories whilst giving too little exercise.

Measures an owner can take to prevent obesity are:

  • Following the feeding guide on the tins or dry food bags you are feeding. Dry food in particular is full of calories and is often overfed mistakenly.
  • Feeding de-sexed or inactive pets ‘light’ or ‘low' calorie food. De-sexed animals have roughly half the energy requirement of an undesexed animal.
  • Feeding older animals ‘senior’ diets which are lower in calories (as well as having other health benefits for older animals).
  • Ensuring tit-bits and table scraps are not given. For training purposes, if treats must be used, low calorie food which is then deducted from the amount fed at the main meals will help prevent taking on extra calories.
  • Maintaining a regular exercise program. Dogs should be allowed frequent periods of exercise, and cats should be played with regularly.
  • Keeping pets out of the kitchen before, during and after meals.

Good luck with keeping your pet slim!!!