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Is your dog or cat carrying a few extra pounds? Pets that are overweight tend to be sicker and have shorter lifespans. Our veterinarian can help you keep your pet’s weight under control so that your dog or cat can live a long, healthy, active life.
The primary reason for pet obesity is letting them consume an excess amount of calories and not providing sufficient amounts of exercise. Letting your dog or cat remain overweight can lead to arthritis, joint injuries, heart and kidney problems and diabetes.
Dog and cat owners with overweight pets do not necessarily over-feed their dogs and cats on purpose. They leave food out all day, allowing the dog or cat to grab a bite here and there. They promote bad behavior by feeding their dog or cat every time he or she begs. The dog or cat soon learns that begging equals more food or treats.
Owners also tend to reward good behavior with food. While pets should be trained using positive reinforcement, food does not have to be the motivator. Exercise or playing can positively reinforce good behaviors.
Dog owners specifically tend to feed their pets table scraps and then explain that their pet will not eat his or her food and demands table food. While feeding table scraps to cats and dogs is not inherently bad, pets should never be fed exclusively human food as it contains more calories and less nutrients than their dog or cat food. Other causes of dog and cat obesity include poor thyroid function, arthritis and advanced age.
If you suspect your dog or cat is carrying around a few extra pounds, it is important to schedule a wellness examination to check for diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney problems. Our veterinarian can weigh your dog or cat and determine if he or she needs to lose weight. We can even recommend dietary changes and special low calorie pet food.
If an illness is found, our veterinarian will recommend a course of treatment to heal or manage the condition and recommend certain exercises and dietary changes. We encourage owners, especially owners of overweight cats to seek a professional assessment with our veterinarian. Overweight cats need to be monitored closely as they lose weight.
Dogs need to be monitored less often than cats, and there are steps you can take at home if your dog is overweight. The first step would be increasing his or her exercise by taking them out on multiple walks a day, letting them roam and play in a fenced backyard. This helps burn extra calories and energy and typically leads to better dog behavior at home. Another way to help dogs lose weight is to only lay out your dog’s food bowl during meal times.
For information on how to help your pet maintain a healthy weight, call our office at 702-675-8366.
Now accepting new clients by appointment only.
Dr. Drake and CarolAnn are amazing! They have been caring for my dogs for over 10 years now and I have never had one complaint. They are always so happy to see my dogs and provide them with the most compassionate care. I recommend them to any seeking an honest, caring, loving, empathizing and helpful veterinarian!