All Pets Veterinary Clinic

OBESITY

Did you know that: Over 40% of dogs and over 12% of cats seen daily at veterinary
practices around the country are obese.

The two most common causes of obesity in pets are lack of physical activity
and excessive food intake.

Spaying and neutering does not directly cause pets to become overweight.
The cause is actually a decrease in activity without a corresponding decrease
in caloric intake.

Extra weight on your pet can cause:
Fatigue
Difficulty breathing
Hypertension
Increased surgical risk
Liver dysfunction
Lowered resistance to infection
Decreased endurance
Bone and joint problems
Shortened life span
Higher chance of diabetes

If your pet is overweight, the following recommendations can help to shed
some extra pounds:

1. Limit the amount of table scraps and treats your pet gets.
Many treats have more calories in them than you think and a treat here or
there can really add up. Here are some examples:

Liver snap(1) 11 cal
Jerky strip (1) 28 cal
Bonz (1) 66 cal
Snausages (1) 13 cal
Milk bone (1 sm.) 18 cal
Milk bone (1 lrg.) 33 cal
Hot dog 310 cal
Milk (1/2 cup) 76 cal
Tuna (1/3 can) 118 cal
Chips (15) 170 cal
Ice cream (1/2 cup) 186 cal

2. Donít feed your pet free choice. Free choice feeding can
encourage overeating. Many pets will simply not consume the amount of
calories that they need and will gain weight if left with a never ending
bowl of food.

3. Take your pet for regular walks or other exercise. Increased
activity will burn off extra calories. For cats, try moving the food bowl
and litter box to a distant area in the house. Forcing a cat to hike up and
down stairs to use the litter box or get food can burn extra calories.

4. Follow the suggestions on the side of the bag for the amount of food
that your pet should be fed.
This is usually a good starting point.
If your pet is overweight, feed it for its ideal weight. You may need to
slightly adjust the amount of food your pet is receiving. If your pet is
very active, he/she may become too thin at the the recommended amount.
Likewise, if your pet is sedentary, he/she may gain weight at the recommended
amount.

For more specific food or diet recommendations, please don't hesitate to
contact us.

The information provided is for educational purposes only and is not
intended to take the place of your regular veterinarian. Please do not hesitate
to contact your regular veterinarian if you have questions regarding your pet.



Karen Blakeley, DVM, MPH
13 December 2002