by Anna Tilley, Ryedale Vets
Excessive treats over the festive period? ‘He’s cuddly’ ‘She’s big boned’…sound familiar?
Unfortunately obesity is a growing problem in pets, with a vast array of foods and treats on the market, and who wouldn’t want to spoil their beloved pet? But being ‘cuddly’ can cause serious problems, and we as a profession try hard to promote healthy weights in all pets.
There are a number of low calorie treats on the market, or why not take part of your cat or dog’s daily ration and give that as treats? Carrot sticks (not circles) are a great treat which surprisingly dogs love! Rabbits are often fed sweet treats such as biscuits and other snacks which are unnecessary and cause harm in the long run.
According to studies, 1 in 3 household pets in the UK is overweight or obese, and the figures are rising all the time. Excess weight in a pet can lead to long term health issues, such as arthritis, diabetes and liver disease. Flystrike can be a problem in rabbits who may be too overweight to groom their back ends adequately, and along the same lines, some cats are unable to keep their coats in order and become badly matted, simply by not being able to reach all areas.
It is essential that your pet maintains a healthy weight and body condition. Body condition is a ‘score’ we give to all dogs, cats and sometimes rabbits, to ascertain their ideal condition, as ‘ideal’ weights for certain breeds are not always ideal for individuals. We would much rather go on sight and feel, and the rules are simple; we should be able to feel but not see the ribs, and there should be a visible waistline.
As your local vets we can help you with this issue, through special obesity clinics run by Qualified Veterinary Nurses. They are trained in nutrition and dietary advice, and can discuss and form a diet and exercise plan, tailored to you and your pet’s individual needs, and to fit around your current routine.
Station Road, Helmsley, YO62 5BZ Tel: 01439 771166
133 Eastgate, Pickering YO18 7DW Tel: 01751 472204