New Year's Resolutions - Four-Legged Variety
By Kerry Wink, D.V.M.
Published Jan. 4, 2012 @ 10:29 a.m.
As we begin the new year many of us make new year resolutions. It seems most of them have a common denominator...either to lose weight or to become better in shape. Some of these new year's resolutions may help out our four legged family members as well. Just as in the human medical field, veterinarians have seen a tremendous increase in the number of obese animals. Some studies show up to 60% of pets are overweight. This problem rest solely on the owners.
Our pets are truly members of our families. They can act like us, look like us, and follow our directions willing. We spoil our animals way too much. We leave our TV on when are at work for our pets can watch their favorite show, like Animal Planet. Some pets spend the majority of the day in a crate, pen or the house waiting on us to get home. Then when we get home we are ready to sit down and relax or cook supper so our animals are not getting any exercise. By this time we feel sorry for them and we give them treats, table scraps, or high caloric foods.
Overfeeding our pets is the most common reason for obesity, and is the most common problem seen in veterinary medicine. Obesity is a very serious disease. Fat is considered to act like an organ which secretes large amounts of hormones which affects the entire body. Obesity can lead to heart, breathing, and circulatory problems. This adds stress on the limbs, joints and spine which increases the chance of arthritis and exercise intolerance. Excess weight also contributes to diabetes, liver disease, urinary problems and cancer. These animals are more susceptible to infection and have a shorter life expectancy. Overweight animals are less tolerant to anesthesia, have slower healing abilities, and are subject to post-operative infections.
However don't worry, we can help many of these animals by just changing a few simple things. I have several patients locally that have responded great to a weight loss program. This is a very slow process and it takes lots of dedication and hard loving on the owners part. There are special diet foods available over the counter and also prescription diets as well, depending on how overweight your pet is. Just by shedding a few pounds off your pet can make a huge difference in the way they act and their activity level.
So if you want to make your four legged family member a new year's resolution to this year, we can help. You can schedule an appointment and we can get started on a weight loss program. Who knows...if we have enough contestants, we can have a "Biggest Loser Contest-Pet edition." Involving biweekly weigh ins as well for them. Let me be your pet's Bob or Julian.