I realize how pathetic those puppy dog eyes are and how persistent the meowing
can be, but please, for the well being of your best friend, don't fall for it!
Research shows that pets of ideal weight live longer and medical problems
show up later in life. Arthritis is the most common problem seen in overweight
dogs. Studies show an almost 3 year difference in onset of arthritis in the
different weight groups. Other disorders seen more often in overweight pets
include cancer, skin disease, liver disease, uterine infections, diabetes, and seizures.
Caloric requirements will vary greatly between individual animals, depending on their
metabolism and exercise levels. Caloric needs will also vary in an individual, during
different stages of life, and even times of the year. This makes routine weight
evaluation and feeding adjustments necessary.
Body condition is the best way to determine if your dog is getting too much,
too little, or just the right amount of food. Lightly rub your finger tips across
your pets rib cage. You should be able to easily feel the definition of the
individual ribs. There should be NO "cushion" or fat layer. When viewed from
above, there should be an obvious narrowing at the end of the rib cage, the
waist. When viewed from the side, there should be a tuck up of the abdomen.
|Don't Kill Your Pet With Kindness!
If your pet needs to shed a few pounds, consult with your veterinarian about
the best way to go about it. Often times decreasing the amount of food
(including snacks) will do the trick. Sometimes a prescription diet is
needed. Your veterinarian may want to test for underlying medical
conditions. Do NOT give up. There's no reason for a pet to remain
overweight with proper management.
If you're starting with a puppy, lean body weight is just as important. An
overweight puppy is putting undue stress on it's forming joints. This can
lead to serious orthopedic disorders as an adult. Prevention of obesity is
much easier then a drastic weight loss program, and much healthier.
Sandra Statter, DVM