I just got back from the vet, because my dog, Diamond, was bitten by a centipede and has a growing welt the size of a nickel on her arm. We had to weigh her and sure enough she had gained a pound since the last time she was there. While she is still within a healthy weight category, this is now a trend of weight gain.
The experience made me think about some headlines that I have been seeing recently about pet obesity:
Weight gain has long been a myth people cite for not getting their animal fixed, especially by people interested in keeping their animal fit for home protection, sport, or work. Therefore, the questions remains: does spay/neuter cause pet obesity?
The short answer is no, but it may require you to adjust your pet’s diet. There have been a number of studies that do indicate an increased prevalence of obesity in fixed dogs and cats. One found the prevalence was three times greater in neutered dogs. There is growing indication that the surgery decreases the animal’s metabolic rate or ability to consume energy (calories). This also happens naturally with age and is has a bigger impact in certain breeds.
Does your metabolism cause you to gain weight or is it the ice cream or potato chips?
Sadly, a recent survey indicates that 50 percent of American companion animal population is overweight or obese. As guardians to our altered (or unaltered) animals, it is our responsibility to monitor our pet’s weight and adjust their diet to include less fat, if necessary. Measure your pet’s food intake, resist begging, and save treats for a special occasion.
Of course, exercise is important, too. Just like for people, metabolism can be revved up with an active lifestyle. Obesity is not something to ignore, it increases the risk of diabetes, orthopedic problems (joint issues and bone fractures), and possibly cancer.
As for Diamond, we are moving soon to a place where she has a big yard and can get more exercise, but I’ll have to be on the look out for those nasty centipedes!
What are some tips for companion animal weight loss you have used?