By Pet Connection Staff
February 2, 2011
Bigger portions and less active lives are causing an epidemic of obesity in people and in pets. But getting the extra weight off your dog or cat isn’t as hard as it is getting it off yourself. Dr. Marty Becker has the story in this week’s Pet Connection newspaper feature:
An overweight pet is prone to a host of related issues, including diabetes, joint, ligament and tendon difficulties, and breathing and heart challenges. Overweight cats can even develop skin problems from not being able to groom themselves properly. The overall impact on comfort and longevity can be dire.
But the truth is that itâ€™s not as difficult to trim down pets as it might be to fight your own battles with the bulge. What pets eat depends on what we give them. And although we might groan at the thought of exercise, our pets are always up for a brisk walk, a game of fetch or some play with a toy on a string. They love to move, especially if weâ€™re moving with them.
Simply put: Thereâ€™s no excuse for an overweight pet. Especially not today, with veterinarians well-armed not only with advice but with special foods that can help you trim the excess from your pet. These products were well-represented at the North American Veterinary Conference, which recently wrapped up its 25th annual convention for veterinarians in Orlando, Fla.
Healthy pets have some padding on them, but a little padding is plenty. Rub your hands over the ribs of your dog or cat. The skin should move easily back and forth, and you should be able to feel the ribs. Your pet should have a definable â€œwaistâ€ at the bottom of the rib cage. Take a look from the side: If your pet looks pregnant, heâ€™s fat.
One particularly important tip:
Crash diets arenâ€™t good for pets, especially not for fat cats, who can develop a fatal liver problem if forced to reduce too quickly. A pet doesnâ€™t get fat overnight, and he shouldnâ€™t be forced to change course any more rapidly. What youâ€™ll need to do is change your petâ€™s eating and exercise habits gradually. Your veterinarian is your partner and resource in this lifestyle change, so enlist her aid early.
Get the rest of the skinny on fat pets, and how to help them,Â here!
And from Dr. Becker and Mikkel Becker, the inside story on tabby cats, and tips on checking your dog’s pulse, in this week’s “The Buzz.“