Why is my pet’s weight so important?
Obesity is one of the most common diseases affecting pets in western society. In Australia studies report that between 20% and 45% of the dog and cat population are clinically obese. Many illnesses are related to obesity including arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes and cancer that unfortunately compromise the pet’s enjoyment and length of life.
How do I know if my pet is overweight?
A pet is considered overweight when it weighs 15% more than its ideal body weight and obese when it weighs 30% more than its ideal body weight. A good way to work out whether your pet is overweight is to run your hands down either side of your pet’s body. Can you feel your pet’s ribs through a thin layer of fat but not see them? Does your pet have a nipped’ in’ waist? If so they are an ideal body weight. If not, read on…
How did my pet get overweight?
Obesity can be the result of multiple factors. Not enough exercise or medical problems such as hypothyroidism, or genetic factors can all play a role. However, the single biggest factor is calorie intake – how much your pet is eating! This also means that diet change is the single most effective tool in reversing obesity! Knowing how much to feed your pet can be tricky. Remember your pet will often not know when to stop and will always ask for food it doesn’t need. It’s very easy to overfeed a food motivated pet but staying trim will change your pet’s health forever!
I think my pet needs to lose a few kilograms, what do I do now?
Make an appointment for a health check and to talk to one of our veterinarians to make sure that your pet is in good health. The veterinarian will refer you to the Hills® PetFit program. Our highly skilled vet nurse dieticians run the program. The nurse works out a feeding and exercise regime that suits you both. All pets go on a specially formulated Hills r/d ® prescription diet which is low in calories but still nutritionally complete. Your pet needs to come back every 2-3 weeks for a free ‘weight in’. This is to help make sure that everything is going okay, to adjust feeding amounts or to check if you are having any problems. Depending on the amount of weight your pet needs to lose, ideal body weight can be achieved from between 3 to 6months. All nurse weight clinics are FREE.
What happens when my pet achieves ideal body weight?
Once your pet has achieved ideal weight we generally switch your pet on to a light diet. Light diets have fewer calories but help to make your pet feel fuller between meals whilst still being nutritionally complete. The nurse will still want to see your pet in 2-3 weeks time to make sure that the feeding amount is right for your pet. Depending on the results of this you will only need to come back every 1-3 months just to make sure you’re pet’s weight remains stable. If all goes well over that period you will only need to come back for your pet’s annual health check. For your own records however we do recommend you reweigh your pet every 1-3 months. You can swing by anytime to do this on our scales for free. The weight is then recorded on our records too.
Make an appointment today to join PetFit. PetFit is a pet weight loss programme, supported by Hills® specially developed to give you and your pet a new lease of life together. By helping your pet slim down to their ideal shape, you will reduce their risk of illness related to obesity. Better still, being fitter may help your pet live a happier, healthier and longer life, so you can enjoy more happy times together.
Like to sign up? To register your dog or cat with PetFit and love them back to their ideal weight, give us a call.