A: Obesity has become an extremely important health problem for our pets. There are so many side effects of pet obesity that we will be able to mention just a few of the more significant problems here.
• Excess fat puts pressure on all of their bones. This leads to and worsens arthritis, which creates significant pain in our pets.
• Excess fat acts like a constricting jacket around the chest, making it more difficult to take a breath.
• Overweight cats are more susceptible to a life-threatening liver disease, to urinary problems and are significantly more susceptible to developing diabetes. Fat has a negative effect on the heart and body’s blood vessels in all of our pets.
The first way to help our pets is to monitor calorie intake. They are 100 percent dependent on us, so why are we feeding them too much? We need to change our attitudes about how we “reward” our pets. Table scraps are not good for them. A one-ounce piece of cheese for a mid-sized dog is equal to 1½ hamburgers to us. Many pet treats are also very high in calories, so four or five treats can easily mean an extra meal of added fat.
The second way for us to help our pets stay healthy is to exercise them. With exercise, you can both improve your pet’s health and enhance your bond. Gunard Petersen has developed excercises that you can do with your dog or cat, and these are available on the website: www.petfit.com.
Information provided by Dr. Terri Dermody, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 650-2770.