Pet Patter - Catrina Skepper's Blog
Trimming Down Your Tubby Buddy
But that's not what my exasperated friend had on her mind... As she walked towards me dragging her pooch I couldn't help but notice he was sporting a rather hefty paunch and I didn't have to wait long to find out what was on her mind.
"I'm on a mission to get some weight off Max. I took him to the vets, after he sounded like he was struggling with his breathing, and they told me that he was overweight and it was putting pressure on his body."
"They advised me that if Max didn't lose some weight he would continue to struggle with his breathing and could even risk developing further health problems." she said.
A good five miles and two muddy dogs later, my friend and I had discussed in-depth Max's eating and exercise regime and her plans to get him back into shape.
This got me thinking, if my friend was struggling to manage her pet's weight, so must many other pet owners. After all my friend's household is typical of many... a busy mother of four, both her and her husband would spend time away working, and each member of her brood were guilty of feeding Max leftovers from their dinner plates - leaving him to hoover up human sized portions.
When I got home I started looking more into the over-sized pets issue and it quickly became clear that she wasn't alone in her fat pet plight. Experts have, in fact warned that there is now an epidemic of overweight pets, ranging from dogs and cats to hamsters, gerbils, rats, rabbits and budgies - with an estimated half a million pets tipping the scales, according to the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA).
Dog Insurance specialists have found that those extra pet pounds could lead to illnesses similar to those found in overweight humans - diabetes, heart and liver problems, respiratory diseases etc. So this really was an issue worthy of recognition. So, if you think your pet is looking on the portly side my advice is to do as my friend did, and take your animal along to the vet for a check-up, to see if they have any weight related medical problems. They will also give you advice on diet and exercise.
I also found a great website run by the RSPCA and TV vet, Joe Inglis, called Pets Get Slim. There I found lots of tips on helping your cat or dog get trim and healthy.
To give you an update on Max... he has already shed a few pounds and is looking more like his old bubbly self each day - plenty of walks, a ban on leftover treats and a carefully controlled diet are all part of his daily routine, much to my friend's delight.