For those of you making New Year resolutions for your pets waistlines, here are a few tips.
Weight gain can occur due to overfeeding, following neutering or as a result of reduced exercise. Medical conditions are rare as causes of weight gain. Maintaining the correct body weight is important for general health especially where there is joint disease.
Normal weight varies between breeds. Besides regular weigh-ins, a hands-on approach is useful - this is called Body Condition Scoring. Your pets ribs should be readily palpable and there should be a clear waistline when viewed from above and from the side.
When instigating a weight loss program, it is important that your pet has a health check to look for any underlying problems and to estimate a target weight. Dogs can suffer from low thyroid levels which can contribute to obesity. Weight loss should be monitored and gradual.
The first step is to work out the animals daily intake, including treats and dental chews. Some treats can be very high in calories, and often are the first component of the diet to remove or substitute with something healthier.
A suitable diet for weight loss maybe the current food, fed at a reduced rate, or a diet specially designed to promote weight loss. It is important to maintain or increase the level of exercise, if possible. It can be difficult to achieve weight loss in pets with joint disease due to the activity limitations. Different sorts of exercise, such as swimming or hydrotherapy can be useful in some cases.
Monitoring weight change can be done at home, by weighing your pet on the bathroom scales directly or by measuring the difference in weight when holding the animal and not.
Once at the target weight, it is important to maintain it with regular weight checks. Dont go undoing all of your hard work.
At Knotts Yard, we offer a nurse run weight clinic, to help guide you through diets, exercise plans and to assist in monitoring your pets weight. For further details please contact the reception team.