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If your pet is sick or you have a health concern, please contact Ammon Veterinary Hospital immediately for assistance at 208-552-9825.
Obesity is defined as weighing 30% more than the ideal body weight. Human medicine uses weight and height charts to calculate obesity but in animals we use weight charts and body condition scoring to assess obesity. Obesity is a known risk factor for developing many diseases; the most common are diabetes, heart disease and arthritis.
Obesity is the accumulation of excess energy stored as fat. Most pets that become obese are simply eating more calories than they can expend. All causes of obesity are not clearly understood but some factors that contribute are genetics, diet, and environment. There are medical conditions that can predispose a pet to obesity such as hypothyroidism in dogs. Any overweight dog should be tested for hypothyroidism. Obese cats are at risk of developing a fatal disease called hepatic lipidosis, a form of liver failure.
Prevention is better than treatment but it is not always easier. Once your pet becomes obese, you and your veterinarian should design a weight loss program around your pet’s lifestyle that will safely promote proper weight loss. Client compliance is essential in achieving proper weight loss so your input in developing a weight loss plan for your pet is important for the overall success.
A weight loss program for your dog might include changing your pet to a prescription weight loss food for a period of time, exercise in the form of thirty minute walks twice daily and discontinuing table foods and treats in exchange for low-calorie treats.
A weight loss program for your cat should be instituted under the direction of your veterinarian. The program might include feeding a calorie restricted diet or prescription weight loss diet, additional exercise by placing food, water, and litter box in different locations in the house to promote exercise, and increased interaction and play time with the family.
Adhering to these recommendations will allow most pets to lose weight. Remember that you are doing this to help your pet live a long and healthy life. Patience and diligence is needed and who knows we all might benefit from this diet!