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Monday, October 4, 2010

Fat pets

We are aware of the negative health consequences in humans, so why is it ok for our pets to be overweight? That's correct: it's not.
We don't see overweight animals in the wild, only in captivity (our captivity). A fat cat or dog would be lunch to predators in the wild.
I impart a huge amount of importance to weight loss in obese pets. Pets that are overweight have a much higher incidence of diabetes mellitus, cardio-pulmonary disease, arthritis (at least clinically affected with arthritis), and even skin issues (fat pets can't groom themselves properly).
Based on ideal weight, vets can calculate (or simpler: find a table in a book) a pet's daily energy requirements.
For example, a dog's RESTING ENERGY REQUIREMENTS (RER, the energy expended while the dog is at rest) is calculated in this manner: (30 mutiplied by body weight in kilograms) + 70.
This would equal the RER in kilocalories (kcal) per day.
A few examples: If your dog should lose weight, the RER is multiplied by 0.8-1.
A neutered dog would consume 1.6 times RER.
A working dog should consume 2-5 times RER, depending of course, on the type of work (a dog sitting at a computer desk all day doesn't require that many calories).
Talk to your vet about counting calories for your pet.

Over 50% of the pet population is consider overweight, a large percentage of those obese.


GoLightly said...

Oh, you are sooo right.
Sadly, many people kill their pets with love, in the form of food.

Thank you for saying it.

I can't believe how many grossly fat dogs/cats there are out there.

OldMorgans said...

If you follow the feeding instructions on pet food labels, you WILL have a fat pet.
If you have a cat, and feed dry food, you will probably have a fat pet, even if you feed less then label.
When I got my two Maine Coon crosses from the shelter, they were obese from free choice dry food. Slowly, the weight has come down by feeding far less then the label recommendations on the high quality canned food I feed.
Yep, it is hard sometimes when they clean their bowl and look at me with a "Is this it?" look. But I know the all too serious consequences for a fat pet. And, guess what, my cats get over it and sit in my lap anyways!

GoLightly said...

Not necessarily. Depends on the dog and the level of exercise. My girls lost weight, and I had to increase beyond label.
But they get a long walk, and/or lots of play/exercise, every single day.
jmo, free choice food asks for obesity. What else does a cat have to do all day, inside?
It's the animals lying around all day that will start to puff up.
Especially if they have free choice food.
eat/sleep/eat/sleep. Not good.

Anonymous said...

Agree totally - but how do you diet an outdoor cat who is fed by (as yet unidentified) neighbours - despite having a "DO NOT FEED" collar on? Any advice would be welcomed (he is already on half what the dry food label says he should be on for a cat 1kg lighter than him....)

With dogs, it is easier to limit their food intake. With cats, harder. Particularly given that there are a number of irresponsible people in this world who want to feed a cat so that the cat sits on their lap without the responsibility and cost of vet bills.

Err, will get of my soapbox now!

TorontoVet said...

While I don't know the exact dimensions of your cat, he may actually be getting many calories from predation. Birds and mice are pretty tasty to cats.
If this is the case or not, I'd drop his caloric intake by 50-75%. Sounds like a lot, but he's likely getting the other 25-50% from neighbors.

HealthTechnologyPP said...

Great new perspective and way to look at this. Thank you.

VetsInKent said...

Hahaha I don't think theres much chance of our mental little terrier getting fat!

I would also like to say, there are a lot of vets in kent where I live, and I have tried a few, but there is one in Bekesbourne which is by far the best. In case anyone is reading this I highly recommend them!

Animal veterinarian raleigh said...

You are a great writer and I'm sure, a great vet