Unfortunately, pet obesity is a growing (no pun intended) problem in our culture. We have become accustomed to overweight pets to the point where appropriate sized cats and dogs look too thin.
A general rule of thumb: you should be able to easily feel your pet’s ribs when you run your fingers over his/her chest. The formula for weight loss is pretty simple…if you are putting fewer calories in (food/treats) than you are taking out (normal metabolism plus exercise) then your pet will lose weight. If your pet is overweight you need to decrease their calorie intake and/or increase their calorie output (exercise…tough do to in cats!). Decreasing calorie intake means giving less food, fewer treats or feeding a low calorie food (diet food). Yes, decrease the amount of food they are getting even if you are only feeding … (fill in the blank #cups). Every pet metabolizes their food at different rates.
There are some medical conditions that can also contribute to obesity such as hypothyroidism, and you should contact your veterinarian if you feel your pet may be dealing with a medical condition. There are also some situations where you can’t seem to get your pet to lose weight no matter what you do. Believe it or not, there is a wonderful diet medication that can be used to help get your pet to the correct weight.
Pet obesity is a serious medical condition, as it is in people. It can lead to joint problems, diabetes, heart problems, and other serious medical issues. All by itself, it decreases your pet’s quality of life. Take a look at you furry family member and see what you think about his/her body condition. Go see your veterinarian to get a second opinion if you’re not sure.
Dr. Eric Grunder