October 11th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day! Nearly 60% of cats and 55% of dogs are considered obese in America today. Just like in people, pets that are overweight can be predisposed to a number of diseases and health problems. As your pet’s healthcare provider, we take weight management very seriously and are here to help you help your pet lose weight and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
When you come to visit us at Colonial Terrace, one of the first things we will do with your pet when they arrive is weigh them. During your pet’s exam, your doctor will assess your pet’s Body Condition Score. This score is determined by checking the following parameters:
1. Your doctor will feel your pet’s ribs – they should be able to feel each rib without having to push through layers of fat and they should also not be able to see your pet’s ribs.
2. Your doctor will palpate your pet’s abdomen and will be looking to find an “hourglass” shape when looking down at your pet’s back. They will also check for your pet’s tummy to tuck upward from ribs to pelvis.
By determining your pet’s Body Condition Score, our doctors will be able to make recommendations to help your pet maintain a healthy weight and live a healthy life. If your pet is determined to be overweight, your doctor will help you come up with a feeding plan and may suggest a new food or a change in how much you feed. They may also suggest increasing your pet’s activity level by going on more frequent walks with your dog or getting some fun cat toys and encouraging your cat to play, for example.
It is important to remember that helping your pet stay in a healthy weight range can increase their lifespan. Overweight pets are predisposed to a number of serious health conditions and diseases, such as arthritis, heart disease, diabetes, skin disorders, and respiratory disease. If you have any questions about your pet’s weight management, please contact us at Colonial Terrace. We can help you prevent your pet from becoming overweight, so you can provide them with a long, healthy, happy life.