Pet obesity is on the rise in Ireland and it is estimated that approximately 59% of cats and dogs are already overweight.
Many owners believe that their pet is of an ideal weight, however our perception of a health animal may sometimes be a little off. Understanding the principles of pet nutrition is key to keeping your pet at a healthy weight.
Why worry about pet obesity
● An overweight pet can have a shorter life span.
● Excess weight can adversely affect joints and make movement difficult and painful.
● Obesity puts extra pressure on the heart and lungs, leading to breathing difficulties and cardiac problems.
● The pets ability to groom can be limited, leading to dermatological issues, especially in cats.
Why do pets become overweight?
● Over feeding! It’s simple, just as in humans, if an animal is feed more calories than what they need they will become overweight.
● Lack of exercise.
● Breed predisposition - It’s true some dog breeds are prone to obesity, however it is our job to ensure that we monitor their weight closely to prevent this from happening.
● Neuter status - Some animal can gain weight after being neutered as their calorie requirement is less. In accordance their food intake must be reduced.
● Old age
● Medication & Some medical conditions
● Optimal feeding of puppies and kittens - Young animals must be fed a food which meets all their nutritional requirements.
● Monitoring the pets weight and adjusting their daily food intake accordingly.
● Maintaining an Ideal adult body weight.
● Maintaining exercise and activity
● Feeding only what is required.
How and what to feed your pet
● Choosing a high quality pet food which meets all of your pets nutritional requirements (which can change depending on your pets life stage).
● Limiting the number of treats.
● Avoid feeding ‘human food’ to your pet
● Fun Fact!: If you feed your pet one small biscuit, it is the equivalent of a human eating one hamburger.
● Follow feeding charts on pet food, but monitor pet for weight loss or gain.
● Measure out pet food to ensure accuracy.
What to do if your pet is already overweight
● Reduce their daily food intake - gradual decrease in amounts given
● Stop feeding table scraps, treats & ‘human food’.
● Increase daily exercise - gradually introduced, especially in older animals or those with medical conditions.
● Consider placing your pet on a weight reduction prescription diet.
● Come talk to us. We will help you identify the factors that may contribute to your pets weight gain and help you to make the necessary changes to make your pet healthier and happier.
Pet weightloss clinics
Our weight loss programme is free of charge and includes regular weigh-ins, help and support throughout, helpful tips and more. We will establish what your pets ideal weight is and help you work towards this goal.