A Word From... Dr. C.A. Heller III DVM

Pet Obesity

One of the largest pet health hazards that I see on a regular basis is the obese pet. This can occur for several reasons, lack of proper exercise, feeding inappropriate amounts of food, or due to medical reasons. The most common cause is simple overfeeding. The guidelines on most pet foods labels are just that, rough guidelines. These recommended amounts must be adjusted to each animal.

Each month each owner should do the following, look at your pet. Can you see it’s ribs? Run your hands over it’s sides. Can you feel them? Run your hands down the spine. Can you feel it? Look at your pet from above. Is there evidence of a waist?

An ideal pet weight would allow you to feel, but not see the ribs. You should be able to just barely feel the spine. There should also be a waist in the area just ahead of the rear legs, when you look down from above . In the overweight pet you would not be able to feel the ribs or spine and there would not be any evidence of a waist. Food levels can then be reduced.

In the pet that is underweight you would be able to see the ribs and possible the spine. Food levels could then be increased.

Studies have shown that a pet kept in it’s ideal weight range lives an average of two years longer than one that is allowed to be obese. This means that monitoring a pet’s weight and keeping it in check can significantly lengthen an animals life.

Have many more years with your pet.

C.A. Heller III, DVM
Animal Care Clinic

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