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Is my animal big?

Please, be honest !

26 October 2021

Your vet has just told you that your pet is overweight and even obese. Why does this information make you so uncomfortable and embarrass you? Why do you tend to deny this? My pet is not big, he only has big bones! He is not greedy so it is not possible that he is overweight! And yet, it’s real, Ti-Loup is really obese. Instead of putting your head in the sand, see for yourself. Exercise at home, and without cheating. There are a few things you need to check to see if your pet is overweight. 

1- Look at your animal.

From above and see if you are able to see its size properly. 

2- Feel it

You should be able to feel his ribs and spinal vertebrae well enough to count them easily. If you have trouble counting them, it’s fat that builds up under his skin. 

3- Weigh it! 

A cat or a dog is considered adult, except giant breeds, around at the age of 1 year. His weight, if he is not yet overweight, should remain stable throughout his life.

Once you notice that your pet is overweight, what should you do? In fact, it’s easier than it looks. It only gets complicated if you have a family with several pets, but there are solutions there. Just chat with your medical team.

The solution is identical to the one encountered for us.

The calories ingested with his food (diet and treats) must be less than the calories expended during the day.

My pet does not seem greedy, why has he gained so much weight? The reasons are numerous and sometimes unsuspected:

1- First of all, do you feed your animal with meals rather than ad libitum?

Meals are privileged and allow you to know if your animal is eating well. If he becomes anorexic, you will know it quickly so that you can consult as soon as possible. The amount to give according to his weight is also very important. You can rely on the amount recommended on your feed bag, but these are guidelines and based on active animals at a healthy weight, which does not correspond to an overweight animal.

2- Does the diet I use correspond to my animal and his metabolism?

Each animal has its own unique metabolism. If you give the recommended amount and despite this your pet is overweight, the diet is not meeting their needs. The number of kilocalories is too large. Can I give it less to reduce calories? The answer is no and this part is very important because reducing the intake of a standard diet creates nutritional deficiencies. Remember that: if you cut back on calories, you are also reducing the vitamins, proteins and other elements that he needs. A consultation with the medical team is then necessary. They will be able to advise you on the best weight loss program for your pet. Follow-ups are also very important to ensure that weight loss will be gradual. Too aggressive weight loss can create serious health problems and it is for this reason that a weight loss program should be supervised by a medical team.

3- Do you measure or weigh the food to be given?

Measuring cups are imprecise from cup to cup and depending on the operator. Some people have a fuller cup than others. Weighing food is much more precise and easier. The gram count should always be the same from day to day or from person to person … even if you have children at home.

4- The treats … THE FAMOUS TREATS!

Does your pet eat treats at home? Be honest! How many times a day does he eat and which ones? Many people express their affection for their pets by regularly offering them treats, and their pets also regularly ask for them and sometimes they even adopt cute behaviors to get them. What do we do? We nod and give it to them. Treats should not be excluded completely but should be chosen well so that they are as low in calories as possible and should be included in the number of kilocalories per day. They should not exceed 10% of the daily calorie intake.

5- I don’t want to have my animal sterilized because he will get big?

This is not entirely true. Sterilization reduces metabolism and is often done at the end of growth, so those two phenomena will reduce the number of kilocalories used per day by your animal. However, sterilization is more beneficial for your pet than the risk of being overweight. As in point 2 above, all you have to do is use a diet suitable for his metabolism. A small confirmation here: a reduced calorie diet is not a weight loss diet. The reduced calorie diet should be used for an animal which has a healthy weight but whose weight gain is feared while a weight loss diet, which is only found in a veterinary establishment, can act on the satiety of the body animal and / or metabolism.

6- Does my animal exercise?

It seems obvious that if your pet sleeps all day and walks into the yard for only a few minutes, that he is not getting enough exercise. So it’s up to you to act. Go out more often. It’s good for him … and for you.

In closing, why is it so important to treat obesity? Why do I have to go to so much trouble to fix it. Obesity is considered a disease and can cause others such as chronic constipation, pain in the joints which then leads to reduced mobility, which in turn leads to greater obesity. The respiratory and cardiovascular system is also compromised by excess weight. The animal is less able to breathe deeply because more work is required to move the respiratory muscles. Some areas of the lungs cannot fully inflate, resulting in a cough. This phenomenon is also observed during anesthesia of an obese animal. So you imagine that the anesthetic risk increases. Obesity can also lead to insulin resistance in cats as well as in humans. In fact, obese cats have a 50% decrease in insulin sensitivity. Weight management is especially important in reducing a cat’s risk of developing diabetes mellitus. Other conditions can be encountered with excess weight but the most important is the reduced lifespan.

According to a study done on Labradors, dogs overweight live an average of 2.5 years less.

That Is really a lot, that Is 17 years for a human!

After reading this blog, I suggest you go see Ti-Loup or Fluffy and sincerely ask yourself if he is overweight? If the answer is yes, then don’t be embarrassed and ask your medical team to help you just as it would with an ear infection. Our goal is common, let’s form a good team to fight obesity, keep your pet healthy and maintain a more pleasant relationship between him and you.

Find more here Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 

Photo credit: Gursher Gill and Anna Shvets on Pexels.