Obesity Awareness in Pets
One important health issue that is on the rise in both people and pets is obesity! Along with an oversized physical appearance, obesity creates an increased risk for some common and serious diseases. It is a problem that often goes unrecognized and develops out of a lack of proper nutrition and exercise. More than 50% of dogs and cats are overweight.
The first battle we all face is recognizing what a healthy weight looks like. What is an ideal Body Condition Score (BCS)? Regardless of what numbers show up when we step on a scale, or what a book says a particular breed should weigh, the BCS helps us to see whether our pets are underweight, ideal weight, or overweight. Being overweight increases the chance of health problems like diabeties, joint injuries, arthritis, cancer, kidney disease, heart disease and more. Ask us what you should be looking for in your pet for an ideal BCS.
The second battle is choosing a nutritious diet that will help achieve and maintain a healthy weight. We often make the mistake of trying to "love" our pets through food and treats. One of the best ways to show your pets you love and care for them is to feed them a nutritious, balanced diet at the proper amount. Avoid "loving" your pet with treats. When weight loss is needed, over 60% of the work is in nutrition!
The next battle is finding ways to improve on the daily exercise routine. It needs to be something that can be accomplished on a reasonable daily schedule and hopefully will benefit both pet and owner! If 60% of the work is nutrition, the the other 40% is exercise!
No matter what the number is when the scale is stepped on, to move closer to an ideal BCS using proper nutrition and adequate exercise is to move toward better health an a longer, healthy life!
Fred Steverson, DVM
November 1, 2016