Obesity is the biggest health problem facing South African pets. Many owners believe a ‘little extra padding’ is not serious – but it is. Overweight pets have shorter lives, are at higher risk of diseases like arthritis, urinary conditions, skin conditions, heart disease and cancer, and research has demonstrated that fat pets are less happy.
As obesity is both preventable and treatable, why is it is such a ‘big’ problem? A key reason is loving owners are often not objective about their pet’s size – nine out of 10 owners mistakenly think their pet’s size is ‘normal’; yet according to vets, more than 50% of patients they see weigh more than is healthy. “We control what our pets eat so, in almost all cases, pet obesity is human condition,” says Dr Guy Fyvie, veterinary advisor for Hill’s Pet Nutrition. “The truth is we’ve forgotten what a healthy, lean pet looks like.” (See the body condition score card on this page to give you an idea if your pet needs to lose weight.)
Rather than putting your pet at the risk of obesity-related diseases, ask your vet for a professional, objective opinion. In October many vet practices are offering free #petobesityweek weight assessments. Find a participating practice on www.petobesityweek.co.za and call to book a free weight check.
Should you be advised that your pet will benefit from losing weight, expert help is available. Hill’s Prescription Diet Metabolic is a completely balanced food that is highly effective at helping pets lose excess weight. In an in-home clinical study 88% of pets lost weight in just two months. It contains natural ingredients that help shift the metabolism from fat storing to fat burning, allowing pets to lose weight and maintain weight loss more effectively than when fed traditional weight management foods. Hill’s Metabolic is available exclusively from veterinary practices. For more information visit www.hillspet.co.za/metabolic.
* Get your copy of the October issue of Animaltalk for an in depth analysis of obesity in pets. Your furry friend will love you for it!