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Managing Your Pet's Weight: How Your Veterinarian Can Help

Managing Your Pet's Weight: How Your Veterinarian Can Help

Obesity in pets is becoming a rising problem across the United States in recent years. Your pet having a few extra pounds on them can cause a magnitude of health problems down the road and could even shorten their lifespan.
Dr. Michele Drake discusses potential health issues in overweight pets and how your veterinarian can assist with your pet's weight management in our latest video.

Featured Quote:

"The problems with weight in pets is that their life span is a little bit shorter, so any sort of issues that they have are a little bit more compounded. It's going to decrease their longevity if we do things that are detrimental, and weight is a huge one.”

Video Transcript:

Hi everybody. It's Dr. Michelle Drake here at The Drake Center. I'm here today to talk to you about weight issues in pets. So, it can be kind of a sensitive area. When people come in I usually say, "Is it okay if we talk about your pet's weight?" The reason I ask that is just to be respectful of the situation. It is our job as veterinarians to help you figure out what's the very best healthy thing for your pet, and certainly weight control is really important.

I would say probably about 30-40% of all dogs and cats we see are overweight, maybe even a little bit more than that. The problems with weight in pets is that their life span is a little bit shorter, so any sort of issues that they have are a little bit more compounded. It's going to decrease their longevity if we do things that are detrimental, and weight is a huge one.

So fat itself is actually it's just a chronic source of inflammation in your dog or your cat's body. Chronic inflammation can cause problems in pretty much every system in the body, but certainly we see lots of problems with the musculoskeletal problem. So, if your dog had a little bit of arthritis, and then we throw in extra weight, I always say, "Imagine adding a five pound weight onto your dog's back if it's five pounds, add a 10 pound or a 15 pound weight onto their back and ask them to carry that around if they have like mild arthritis. That's going to make the arthritis so much worse. It's going to make them not want to move around even more, and now we have a compounded problem.

So, what's super important is just to start out with good habits. One of the things we do at The Drake Center is we really encourage a six-month visit, especially for puppies. The purpose for that visit is to review things that are very important, which is behavior is huge, but more importantly we see puppies at age six months starting to head in the direction of being overweight. We want to catch that before then so we can set up better habits, better eating habits.

Certainly with cats, certain cats are super lively and crazy, and they're going to remain really active, but being indoors all the time it's hard for cats because it's not really an environment that's most conducive to keeping their weight down. So, we're going to talk to you about kitties, too. I generally really like cats to be eating some canned food. It's less in carbs and, also, just the amounts we're going to use are going to depend on the cat's size and their weight.

So, there's so many things that we can help you with that maybe you kind of didn't notice. Quite often when I tell people that their pets are overweight they're like, "Really?" They're surprised. So, we want to be able to identify if there's a weight issue, help you to determine what's the best way for weight loss for your pet, and the best exercise program, too, for everybody's longterm health.

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