All Creatures Veterinary Hospital

All Creatures Veterinary Hospital
4549 HW 62 West
Mountain Home, AR 72653
(870) 425-5175

Overweight Pets

A sad, but common trend in this country is the overweight house pet. Obese pets are at risk for many serious health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, breathing difficulties, joint pain, and premature death. Healthy body condition on most pets is determined when you can easily feel the ribs without a thick layer of fat covering them, and the abdomen area is tucked up to a visible waistline behind the rib cage. It can be difficult to see this on animals with a thick hair coat, so feeling the pet frequently is very important. Weighing your pet on a regular basis is also important in monitoring weight gain or loss.

For overweight animals, regular exercise and calorie restricted diets play a big role in losing weight. There are several diets available that are lower in calories but still help the pet feel full after eating. We recommend Science Diet R/D prescription diet. Follow the feeding instructions on the bag, but feed according to the desired weight, not the actual body weight. Exercising your pet regularly is important and requires dedication on your part. Even a short walk three times a week may be beneficial. Cats sometimes require imaginative ways to get exercise. Pen laser lights can sometimes get a cat moving, but be careful not to shine it in the cat's eyes!

Sometimes, animals have an underlying health problem such as hypothyroidism that can cause weight gain and obesity despite low calorie diets and exercise. We can test for thyroid disease with a blood test. This is something that is treatable and the medication may help with weight loss.

If you would like to schedule a time for a body condition evaluation or have questions concerning diet and exercise for your pet, please call our office at (870) 425-5175.