We offer weight clinics because we are passionate about keeping our four-legged customers healthy and happy, and because we want to maximise their quality and length of life. We know how being overweight or underweight can negatively impact a pet, affecting their internal organs and joints, as well as their mental wellbeing. To educate owners about these things, and to explain how attending weight clinics with our knowledgeable nurses is the best way to help your pet reach their healthy weight, we have put together this article which explains why weight clinics are so important.
One scientific study in 2010 suggested that 59% of pets in the UK were obese. A worrying trend, it is one of the major threats facing pet health today. Pets are increasingly enjoying lives of comfort and luxury which is fantastic, provided that good health is maintained as well. Overindulging your pet in food and treats, without providing the calorie-burning exercise to match can lead to a range of health conditions.
Joint disease is not uncommon in cats, dogs and rabbits; most aging pets are likely to develop some form of arthritis over their life. Some pets will develop joint disease earlier on in life, in particular dog breeds such as Labradors and German shepherds are at risk. The additional pressure that excess weight exerts on joints can have painful ramifications leading to a vicious cycle of reduced-exercise and therefore additional weight gain. Weight plays such a strong factor in the discomfort of arthritic pets that, when planning treatment for them, weight loss and assessment of body condition should be a high priority.
Skin problems can be exacerbated by an inability to groom effectively. Personal hygiene can be greatly decreased when you can’t get to those hard to reach areas! This is especially true for rabbits whose chance of suffering from flystrike, a painful and sometimes life-threatening illness, is increased when they are overweight.
There are a multitude of other diseases associated with obesity in pets and these include diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure. Obesity also increases the risks associated with anaesthesia and causes heat intolerance for pets, meaning that the summer months can be unbearable.
Likewise, being underweight can come with its own problems. Malnourishment can lead to skin issues, dehydration and organ compromise.
So why come to our weight clinics? What can we do to help you and your pet? With so many myths about what is the right weight for a pet, and what diet and exercise regimes are best, our qualified and knowledgeable nurses can dispel these myths and help you understand where your pet sits on the body condition scale.
After a detailed history taking of your pet’s habits, usual daily regime, likes and dislikes, and once they have examined them from nose to tail, our nurses will devise the best program for your pet. It is not a one-size fits all approach and a plan will be tailored specifically to your pet depending on the amount of weight they need to lose or gain and what, if any, medical conditions they suffer with.
If your pet for example, is on medications that make them especially hungry, or if they have stiff, arthritic joints which are sore when exercising, our team can share their tips for overcoming such obstacles. Many clients looking to slim down their pet will use specialised diets which will be discussed at consultation, including the associated costs. However there is no obligation to use them and there is still much that can be achieved without their use.
Pets, like people, mustn’t lose weight too quickly as this can cause health problems in itself. We have methods of calculating sensible weight loss speeds, helping to break what can seem like a mammoth task down into manageable, bite-size pieces. What’s more and perhaps what is one of the most valuable reasons to join a pet weight loss/gain program with us, we will provide encouragement, ensure you don’t become disheartened and motivate you to keep working at it for your pet’s sake. Ongoing encouragement, sometimes spanning months, is what we can offer, until your pet reaches their ideal weight and you’re confident that you (and your pet) can keep up the good habits. We will give you tips for ongoing success and always be available for advice.
So if you feel that the new year is the time to do something to help your overweight or underweight pet, if you feel it’s the time to help them be their healthiest self, get in touch, our friendly team are poised to assist for results that last.