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Beating The Winter Bulge

Hannah Bamford - BVSc MRCVS

With more people being around over the holiday period as well there might have been a few extra treats here or there for them to snack on.

At this time of year we see a lot of pets coming in for routine boosters or consultations that have gained a few extra pounds. Whilst this is ok if your pet still remains a healthy weight, our main concern is those that are now classed as overweight or even obese.

Being overweight for dogs and cats can cause multiple health problems such as diabetes, heart disease and joint problems, so it is important that we get their weight down as quickly and as safely as we can.

Tips For Managing Your Pet’s Weight

There are a few different ways that we can do this:

  1. Weigh out your dog or cat food for their expected weight (if they are only slightly heavier than they should be) – this ensures that they aren’t getting too much food each day.
  2. Restrict the amount of treats they are getting – we appreciate sometimes this is hard, so if you are giving them some extra treats we need to ensure we are cutting down their normal food amount slightly. Some owners actually use a small amount of the normal diet to give as treats throughout the day.
  3. Slowly increase the amount of exercise they are getting as the day light hours become longer.
  4. Hydrotherapy is a great option for some dogs (and occasionally cats) to increase the amount of exercise they are doing, whilst putting minimal pressure on their joints.
  5. For cats it is important that their toys are rotated and put away in between, as they can easily get bored of them and stop playing/exercising.
  6. Nurse weight clinics – our nurses are happy to see your pet in an appointment – they will weight your pet, measure certain areas, discuss diet and provide helpful information, advice and encouragement with regular visits. If your dog or cat is very overweight they can design a safe weight loss plan for them.
  7. Satiety or obesity food – these can really help if you are struggling to get any extra weight off your pet, again these can be discussed with our vets and nurses if required.