Toronto Veterinarians - Pet Wellness Network

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Contact Willowdale Animal Hospital

Open 24 Hours, Year Round

256 Sheppard Ave. West
Toronto, ON M2N 1N3
(416) 222-5409

Obesity is a growing problem in our dogs and cats, and can lead to many associated health problems.  Diabetes, liver disease, joint disease, ligament tears and breathing and heart strain are among a few conditions that overweight pets are at risk for. Many dogs and cats find themselves experiencing greater discomfort from arthritis and joint disease at an earlier age due to the increased strain placed on their joints from extra weight.  Overweight cats can even develop skin problems from not being able to groom themselves properly. The overall impact on comfort and longevity can be significant.

Facts to consider:

  • A 90lb female Lab is equal to an 186lb, 5’4” woman or a 217lb 5’9” man!
  • A 15lb average cat is equal to a 218lb 5’4” woman or a 254lb 5’9” man!
  • If a 11lb cat ate just 28g of cheddar cheese, it would be the same as if a person ate 4 whole chocolate bars!
  • For a 22lb dog, eating just one hot dog, is the same as a person eating 3 entire hamburgers!

The problem is not too different from the one we experience ourselves – the tendency to overeat, and not exercising enough.  We have to take responsibility for most of this problem in our pets because unlike us, our furry friends are unable to raid the fridge overnight or stop at the local burger joint on their way home.  They are dependent on us for food and in many ways exercise too.  Most pets would be thrilled to go out on a long walk, play ball in the park or chase a laser pointer or a toy on a string with their best friend – you!

The first step is to determine if you pet is overweight.  Ideal body condition in a pet is characterized by being able to feel the ribs under a small fat pad (you shouldn’t see the bones protruding), a distinct waist at the bottom of the rib cage and a small tuck in the abdomen just before the hind legs.  If you think your pet has a problem, the best place to start your pet’s diet plan is with a trip to your veterinarian.  He or she will help you learn how to make a gradual change to the most appropriate diet and create an exercise plan for your pet.

It can be hard initially, especially when faced with begging eyes, a wagging tail or a soft purr and repeated head butts, but stay strong.  Your pet will live a happier and longer life thanks to you!

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