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Dog and Puppy Health Updates, Advice and Tips from Devoted Vets

Treating and Preventing overweight and obese dogs at Devoted Vets:

Obesity is a common problem in pet dogs. Surveys suggest that between 25 to 40% of dogs brought into a vet clinic for care are overweight or obese!

Unfortunately excess weight brings serious health risks for much loved pets:

  • problems walking due to joint or spinal disc disease,
  • difficulty breathing, unwillingness to exercise,
  • excess fat in the liver and blood stream,
  • an increased risk of sugar diabetes and pancreatitis (two very serious diseases),
  • constipation,
  • urinary incontinance in speyed female dogs,
  • difficulty giving birth,
  • skin diseases,
  • increased surgical and anaesthetic risk,
  • an increased susceptibility to infection,
  • and overall, a reduced lifespan!

That should be plenty of motivation for owners to prevent or treat overweight or obese dogs!

So at Devoted Vets, we help owners keep their loved dogs within target weights, and help those with overweight dogs to get their pets back to a safe weight!

What can I do to prevent my pet becoming overweight or obese?

Like their human companions, if dogs consume more calories than their body uses, they will gain excess weight. A healthy lifestyle including regular exercise and a balanced diet are the key.

One common trap which owners fall into is giving their pets table scraps or treats as well as their daily allowance of food. This "extra" food soon adds up to additional bodyweight. If you choose to give your pet treats, ensure that you reduce the amount of food that you give your dog at meal time. An even better solution is to measure out your pet's daily allowance of food and use a portion of this for training or treats.

But the major trap is feeding too much food. Most pet food bags will have a guide on the side with how much the pet is to eat for the day to fulfil their nutritional requirments. It is important to match the amount fed with the target bodyweight of your dog.  It is also important to select a food that is suitable for your dog's age and needs. When you think about it, a 75kg elderly Saint Bernard is going to have different energy requirements to a chihuahua puppy!

How do I tell if my dog is overweight or obese?

There are two main clues that a dog is overweight or obese. Firstly, their bodyweight exceeds that expected of dogs of their size. Secondly, when you observe your dog, you will notice that it is difficult to feel their ribs, and their ribs will have a moderate/thick fat cover. There will be thickening around the tail base and the bones in this area will be difficult to feel. On side view, they will not have a obvious waist and their overhead view will be broader than it should be.

If my dog is overweight or obese, how do I get him or her back to a healthy weight?

Don't despair! Devoted Vets can help make your pet's weight loss journey easy. The first step to success is a suitable weight loss food, the second feeding the right amount for your pet's ideal bodyweight and finally, a good exercise program will help. This is made easier to achieve by the support from staff at Devoted Vets. We can help you by tayloring your pet's weight loss program to their specific needs, working out your pet's goal weight and even how long it will take to get there. We also offer a support service to help monitor your dog's weight loss with regular weigh ins and tips to help you reach your goal more easily. This service is free with the purchase of any of our prescription diet food range.

The range includes: Royal Canin Obesity Diet & Hills R/D. Both diets are available in both dry and wet food varieties to ensure palatibilty to your dog.

So phone Devoted Vets, Warragul and West Gippsland, on 5623 2525 for a weight management plan if your cat is overweight or obese. Drop in and say "Hi" to Clara!