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Is my pet overweight?
You can tell if your pet is carrying a little extra weight by feeling around his ribs and spine. You should be able to feel them with only a thin layer of fat separating the skin from the bones. If you can’t feel the rib cage, you have an overweight dog.
Overweight animals face a long list of health issues, so a diet may extend your pet’s life.
* Orthopaedic problems
* Breathing trouble
* Heat intolerance
* Compromised immune system
* Mammary tumours (particularly un-spayed females)
* Skin conditions
* Cardiovascular disease
* Increased surgical and anaesthetic complications
What are the causes?
Obesity is caused by overeating. Most obesity is caused simply because a pet eats more calories than they need. The excess calories are then stored as fat. Inappropriate use of snacks, treats and supplements, lack of exercise and other social factors (for example multipet households) can lead to weight issues.
How can I help my pet lose weight?
Consult your vet to find out your pets current weight and ideal weight and work out a plan to head towards the latter.
Make sure that the whole family is onboard – there is no point in the main feeder carefully monitoring meals while others are giving treats throughout the day.
Make sure you measure or weigh the correct amount of food. Don’t just guess!
If your pet is over its ideal weight, a 20% reduction in calories is a good starting point.
Rather than give your pet less of their regular food, formulated weight-loss foods may be a better option. Well formulated ones can
compensate for smaller servings by increasing the proportion of protein and other nutrients to ensure your pet still gets what they need.
They may also have a lower energy density – by including more fibre, for example – so your pet is eating only a little less in terms of volume, but getting a greater reduction in energy.
Regularly reweigh your pet, to keep track of your progress. Feel free to pop in anytime to use our scales!
I still want to give my pet a treat
It is recommended that treats contribute to no more than 10% of the daily energy requirements of your pet. If you give your pet a treat,
make sure it is accounted for in their daily consumption.
Our pets need remarkably few calories compared to our own caloric needs.
What a treat for a dog would be equivalent to in human snack terms:
1 small plain biscuit = 1 hamburger
1 slice of buttered toast = 1 hamburger
30gm of cheddar cheese = 75gm of chocolate
100gm of sausage = 6 donuts
2 rashers of bacon = 10 scoops of ice-cream
Body Condition Scoring
1) Palpate your pet, only applying light pressure initially along the ribs (chest area). You need to decide whether or not you can feel an outline of the ribs present. Remember you are only using very light pressure.
2) Then do the same along the waist and under the abdomen. Using touch and vision decide if you can feel or see an abdominal tuck from the side of the animal and above.
3) Using light pressure now run your hands over the spine, lumbar region and around the base of the tail and decide whether you can feel any extra fat covering in any of those areas. Again look at the animal and the pictures on the body condition score chart for guidance.
4) Refer to your body condition score chart and using the pictures and descriptives, decide which number condition score is best suited to your pet.