If your pet HAS AN OVERWEIGHT PROBLEM. This may be very detrimental to his or her health, and can contribute to many chronic medical disorders:
- 24% of obese pets have walking problems.
b) slipped discs in the back
c) torn joint ligaments (especially in the knee)
- Respiratory (breathing) difficulties -- especially decreased endurance with exercise.
- Heart problems --- congestion due to work overload.
- Liver disease ---- a result of fat invasion of the organ.
- Dystocia -------- difficulty in giving birth.
- Diabetes -------- lack of the ability to regulate the blood sugar.
- Heat stroke ------ decreased ability to control internal body heat.
- Skin problems ---- especially oily skin and poor hair coat.
- Digestive system problems ---------- excessive gas and constipation particularly.
- Anal gland infections and impactions -- due to poor rectal muscle strength.
- Lowered resistance to diseases ------ overweight pets are sick more often.
- Increased risk with surgery and anesthetics.
Obesity REDUCES YOUR PET'S LIFE SPAN, and general enjoyment of life!
The primary causes of obesity are:
- Lack of adequate exercise --- even if pet is walked daily.
- Lowered metabolism ---------- often seen after neutering.
- Emotional trauma --------------- stress in the home for extended periods.
- Brain problems------------------ especially with the appetite control center.
- Hormone imbalances ---------- poor thyroid gland function particularly.
Less than 5% of overweight problems are due to the last three factors listed above.
THE MAJOR CAUSE OF OBESITY IS LACK OF SUFFICIENT EXERCISE AND/OR EXCESSIVE FOOD INTAKE.
TREATMENT OF OBESITY
The doctor is interested in disease prevention and our goal is to try to prevent some of the disorders that can stem from your pet's weight problem. We will work closely with you to reduce your pet's weight. Success depends on TOTAL COOPERATION. Blood tests may be recommended, but often dietary changes are implemented immediately. Exercise is important, but just as with people that alone will not get the pounds off, unless accompanied by a reduction of the food.
- Decrease food intake by 40% -- this means feed about 1/2 the normal amount.
- Spread the total daily ration of food throughout the day -- feed 2 to 3 times a day (small amounts).
- Snacks are not recommended but if you must "give a biscuit now and then" make it a very small one. Your pet does not care as much about the size of the treat, rather only that it gets the attention.
- Frozen green beans and carrots make good treats.
- Ice cubes will often satisfy the begging behavior.
- Low calorie cookie treats are also available.
- Keep your pet out of the kitchen/dining room at meal times. This is critical!
Often a complete change in the diet is the only successful approach.
- Grocery-store low calorie diets are 10-15% lower in calories than regular diets.
- Home prepared diets:
1/4 lb. lean ground beef (or chicken)
Cook meat, drain fat, cool & add remaining ingredients.
TOTAL: 500 calories
- 1/2 cup cottage cheese
- 2 cups carrots
- 2 cups green beans
- 1 1/2 tsps. dicalcium phosphate
- SELECT CARE "HiFactor" -- a specially formulated food available at veterinary hospitals that is extremely low in calories. It is approximately 40% lower than regular dog food and also much lower than even the commercially available "Lite" diets.
Your doctor will help you decide which program is best for your pet. REMEMBER...be diligent but also be patient. Your pet will lose 1-3 pounds per week, therefore, it may take 2-3 months to reach that "goal weight".
If you are unable to obtain the desired weight loss at home ask the doctor about hospitalization. This "going to the fat farm" is very successful for those pets that need a head start or are in critical need. The use of weight loss drugs or appetite suppressants is not recommended, as there are too many side effects with pets.
Initial Weight _____ pounds ___________________________________ Goal Weight _____ pounds