Pet Talk April 2013
Great day to be a flower seed. April Showers bring May flowers.
Last month we began a series of Pet Talks centering on obesity in our pets, as discussed chronic obesity can lead to long term disease problems. Again, heart disease, joint disease, dermatitis, and a significantly shorter life span are becoming rampant in our obese pets.
Some pets are genetically predisposed to obesity. Science has shown these animals 'flip a switch' when you limit their food. All the food they eat goes into storage, AKA adipose tissue or fat. Eventually, as you decrease the food, they reach a tipping point and will start to lose body mass but no one knows where this point is and it is different for every animal. Some animals become so hungry their behavior changes and they hoard food. They will destroy homes trying to get at the food and can keep you up all night begging and howling.
I talk with my clients about nutrition in our pets often. Cats and dogs, in the wild, would eat once a day, or once every three to four days, depending on their ability to kill their food. Their bodies are already predesigned to store fat to offset the times when they can't or don't eat. Subsequently, a large percentage of their daily calorie intake goes into fat storage, no matter how much exercise they get. All the little 'extra treats' adds up quickly in this system to make our pets obese.
How to combat this problem? Just like with humans, every pet has an ideal weight unique to their individual size and body composition. Knowing this healthy weight target is a first step in any successful weight loss program. Also, as early as one year of age we can do a "Morphometric Measurement" on your pet to tell you their ideal weight for life.
After their lifetime ideal weight is calculated you will know just how many kcal of food a day they need to maintain this weight. We can calculate how many cups of food and how much exercise a day they need. Regular weight checks and body condition scoring will let you know how they are doing. We are gearing for a comprehensive healthy nutrition agenda at Lancaster Vet Clinic for the summer.
Keep your eyes peeled for information regarding our Summer Weight Challenge. We are challenging our clients, and anyone that wants to join us, to get their pets enrolled in this program. If they need to take off a few pounds or just want to know how to maintain they will be welcome!
Call with any questions and watch Facebook and Lancastervetclinic.com for more information. Have a great spring!