Common Health Problems affecting Dogs and Cats

Veterinary advice from John Burns BVMS MRCVS

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Obesity is an accumulation of excess fat in the body as a result of an energy (calorie) intake which exceeds requirements. As explained earlier in this Guide (Stage 1 -Development of Disease) overeating has numerous consequences of which excessive weight is one.

Obesity tends to occur in the dog which is less active physically whereas the active dog will tend to discharge the excess.

Obesity is associated with shortened lifespan, disease of the heart, lungs, liver, kidneys, rheumatism and arthritis. The overweight dog cannot tolerate warm weather, is less able to exercise and will generally have less fun than a lean, healthy dog.

How can you tell if your dog is overweight? Many owners are surprised when they are told that their dog is overweight. The easiest way to tell is by feeling the ribcage. The ribs should be easily and clearly felt with little flesh between the fingers when you pinch the skin.

Specialist or Veterinary diets for weight control are usually high in fibre (cellulose which is indigestible plant material) to reduce the digestibility of the food. These foods are an expensive way of producing lots of faeces.

Treatment of Obesity is by feeding according to the John Burns Pet Health Management Guide.

Burns Pet Nutrition's High Oats Recipe can be helpful in the control of Obesity. Oats have a higher fibre than rice which means that the higher fibre level is due to the food ingredients themselves rather than an 'additive'. High Oats is low in fat and protein. The high digestibility means that the dog can feel satisfied by a small volume of food.

Vegetables (cooked and raw) can safely be included to help fill the dog if you think that is needed. It is important to check the weight regularly to ensure that the weight reduction programme is on course. It is better to lose weight slowly than rapidly - 1/2 lb per week for a small dog up to 2 lb a week for a large dog.

If your dog is overweight you are not getting enough exercise!


Common pet health problems
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