Is my pet overweight?
We all naturally love to feed our pets, it’s our way of showing them we love them. But when is enough, enough?
How do we know if our pets are the correct weight?
We can weigh our pets, but this does not take into account the weight of their hair or muscle. Well muscled pets will weight more than their under muscled counterparts. For example, a horse just starting its working life will have less muscle than a horse that is fir for competition. Additionally, long-haired dogs may weight more than smooth-haired dogs of the same breed and size.
So what can we do?
Instead of relying on weight alone, we can use our pets body condition scores to give us an idea of how our pets would look when they’re the ideal weight. It’s more important that our pets have an ideal body condition score than a set weight.
Why does it matter?
Does it really matter if our pets a bit overweight? YES!! If our pets are overweight, they will have a shorter life and a poorer quality of life. Pets carrying excess weight are more likely to suffer joint conditions such as arthritis, hip dysplasia and osteochondritis dissecans.
So what can we do?
If you feel your pet may be overweight book an appointment with your local vet or vet nurse, to talk through your pet’s diet. Once you have a controlled balanced diet for your pet try not to feed them anything else. Want to give them a treat? Take it out of their daily food ratio or choose healthy treats and reduce their daily food intake.
What are healthy treats?
Fruit and vegetables are a great start try to choose ones low in sugar such as carrots instead of apples. Or make your own! Safe, cheap and healthy!!
Here’s a recipe for healthy dog treats -
Thinly sliced sweet potato
Baked for 3 hours at 120 degrees celsius
Allow to cool and keep in the fridge
Here’s a recipe for healthy horse treats-
Fibre cubes or carrot chopped into small cubes
Place in a plastic cup with water and freeze
Remove the plastic cup and enjoy!
What exercise should my pet be doing?
If your pet is trying to lose weight or maintain their weight exercise is key. Speak with your vet and physio to devise an exercise program that suits you and your pet. If you’d like to book an appointment or FREE phone consultation to discuss this head to www.fitpetphysio.com/book-online-1.
Here’s so ideas of what you should be considering.
Pets who are overweight have more stress on their joints so exercise should be easy on their joints. Swimming and walking in water are great for this as they reduce the amount of weight your pet’s joints have to carry as they are supported by the water. Because of this, you should avoid high impact exercises like running, jumping and competing.
You can increase your pet’s core and postural strength to help increase their fitness by performing core exercises and weight shifting exercises. To find out more head over to www.fitpetphysio.com/shop and download our Complete fitness guides.