Overweight Chocoloate Lab
By Dr. Ray Houk
of Bay Road Animal Hospital - Crossings Location
Today one of the biggest problems seen in our dogs and cats is obesity. In the United States 47% are overweight. Part of this problem is because of their more sedentary lifestyle as well as less supervision in the amount and type of food that is fed to our pets. Our pets often spend more time home alone than having people in the household. Also more tend to put down food and leave it all day whether they eat it or not. Boredom and no exercise also make a difference.
We should also realize the importance of measuring food according to weight. Leaving food out encourages overeating and also makes it more likely that the food will spoil. Here in hot weather canned food should be taken up within an hour as canned food left out will easily spoil in 2-3 hours. If food is put down and not finished immediately it should be taken up and offered again later in the evening.
Some of the statistics on the health risks of obese dogs is that they are 5.3 times more likely to develop Hypothyroidism. Medication to treat Hypothyroidism can be as much as $800.00 per year. Diabetes is 3.4 times more likely in obese dogs. Skin tumors occur 2.3 times more frequently and Perianal tumors are 2.2 times more likely to occur.
Overweight or obese dogs are 2.2 times more likely to rupture an anterior cruciate ligament. Repair could cost as much as $3000.00, and arthritis treatments can cost as much as $1200.00 a year. Small overweight dogs can be put on R/D diet food for two months at a cost of $25.00 to arrive at an ideal weight.
There are several plans that you can get your pet on with the cooperation of you and your Veterinarian to lose the weight that is needed and also to maintain and optimum weight. Talk to your Veterinarian about diet and the best nutritional requirements for your pet. They will want to do a complete physical exam to find out what will be the best way that your pet can lose and maintain it’s correct weight for a long and healthy and active life.
Cats today if they are indoors completely in a household where everyone works are likely to gain weight. Many of their owners say they just put food out to last all day. It is true that cats tend to be grazers but if confined make sure all food is measured according to activity level and weight. Here again proper measurement and feeding two times a day are very helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. A good diet food as N/D prescription diet can take 4 to five months to achieve a healthy weight. Health risks such as diabetes is 3.1 time more likely to develop in overweight cats, they are also 1.4 times more likely to develop heart disease.
Probably one of the more important causes of weight gain that need to be discussed are treats. Owners do not realize how many calories are in treats or even in bites from table food. Talk to your veterinarian about the number of treat per day that your pet receives and their calorie content.
Did you know that 1 ounce of cheddar cheese for a 20 pound dog has the same calories as 2 ½ hamburgers or 1 ½ chocolate bars for an average sized person. One potato chip for a ten pound cat is the same calories as ½ hamburger or ½ chocolate bar for an average person. One twenty pound dog eating one hotdog is the same as a person consuming three whole hamburgers or two chocolate bars. If a ten pound cat ate one ounce of cheddar cheese it would be the same as a person eating 3 ½ hamburgers.