Q: How do I know my pet’s weight is okay?
A: I get this question often from clients who are concerned about their pet’s weight – whether they’re too skinny (which is seldom the case) or too plump. It’s an important issue with serious implications. Firstly, each pet’s ideal weight is different, just as we have people who are big and people who are small.
The real way of gauging whether your dog is obese is to look down on it from above and look for the following: Is there a narrowed waist between the end of the rib cage and the pelvis? Can you feel your pet’s ribs, spine, and pelvic bones? If you’ve answered no to one or more of these questions, your pet is likely overweight or obese. With cats,
you have to check whether you can feel any belly fat or a fat pouch, because cats put weight on around this area first.
Apart from being uncomfortable, less mobile, having a poor quality of life and a shorter life expectancy, other risks
include increased susceptibility to developing arthritis, developing urinary disturbances, greater risk of developing allergies and skin conditions, certain cancers, heart and lung disease, and a greater risk of developing diabetes. We
often want to treat our pets by giving them extra snacks, but the truth is we’re doing more harm than good. We might also feel that they’re happy when they’re fat, but actually they’re not.
So what can you do? There are many dietary options, with some pet foods helping pets actively burn more fat (think banting for dogs). Many veterinary practices provide free service weight-loss clinics that make tracking your pet’s weight easier. Alternatively, follow the guidelines on your pet food packaging for how much to feed them. Many people have successfully maintained their pet’s weight by doing this.
Lastly, feel free to speak to your local vet or vet nurse if you have any particular queries. After all, it’s important to us to ensure that your pet has a long and good quality of life, making your bond with them last longer.
COMPILED BY NOLWAZI DHLAMINI CONTRIBUTOR: MICHAEL FERREIRA PHOTO: FOTOLIA.COM
The advice contained here is strictly for informational purposes. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional veterinary advice, diagnosis, and treatment. Always consult your vet or animal behaviourist for specific information regarding your pets.