Did you know…A gain of 2 pounds in a 20 pound dog is equal to a gain of 15-20 pounds in the average adult?
If your pet indulged a little too much over the holidays, a New Year’s Resolution to eat right and shed some weight might be just the thing he or she needs. These simple rules will help your pet start the year off in the right direction:
Calories In, Calories Out: Dogs and cats are no different than people – if they eat too much and aren’t active enough, they’re going to gain weight.
Quality, Not Quantity: A good quality pet food will provide all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals needed to keep your pet healthy. Your veterinarian can advise on how much to feed to obtain your pet’s optimal body weight.
Know Your Pet’s Lifestage: Puppies and kittens need more calories than adult pets to help them grow. Most senior pets need higher levels of fiber and fewer calories. Just like all pets are unique, all diets are not built the same.
Diet Impacts Overall Health: The right diet can help alleviate and treat skin problems, gingivitis, and scores of other medical issues.
What is your New Year’s resolution for your furry companion going to be this year?
According to a study performed by Purina, Diabetes is a very common disease in cats affecting up to 2% of the feline population in the United States. This disease occurs when the pancreas fails to produce enough insulin, resulting in high blood sugar. Richard Henderson, DVM of Gavelston Vets in Gavelston, TX warns that if left untreated, many other health problems can occur which can result in blindness, kidney damage, muscle weakness, and urinary tract infections. Diabetic cats often require daily insulin shots at home, and frequent trips to the veterinarian for blood sugar tests and monitoring.
The increasing number of diabetic cats in today’s society is a result of sedentary indoor life styles and free-choice feeding, ending in an epidemic of obese felines. There is also research that, for many cats, the carbohydrates in dry cat food cannot be used for energy, and is easily converted into stored fat. For this reason, feeding canned cat foods that are high in protein and low in carbohydrates can be fed to aid in weight loss and prevention of diabetes.
Your veterinarians will take a medical history from the cat owner and perform blood tests and urinalysis to determine if your cat has developed diabetes. Dr. Henderson notes that diabetic cats can be successfully managed but requires a dedicated owner. In cases where a cat is overweight but not yet a diabetic, a successful weight loss program will prevent the disease from developing and increase your cat’s longevity and quality of life. Many feline diseases can be prevented through weight loss and weight management. Proper diet is key not only caring for the diabetic patient, but also to prevent this debilitating condition from developing.
Approximately 1 in 4 cats are likely to be over-weight or obese. This is a growing problem among our feline companions.
While Garfield the cat may say he is happy being a fat cat, in reality his obesity is making him anything but happy. Due to his weight, he is six times more likely to develop diabetes, five times more likely to develop lameness and twice as likely to develop skin and gastrointestinal issues. Fat tissue produces pro-inflammatory signals that may lead to worsening of many other diseases and to decreased life span as well.
Prevention is the best way to avoid the problems of obesity. Today’s cat doesn’t have to work to find food but that decrease in activity means they also need less calories. So measuring daily intake of food and monitoring body condition is very important from the time a cat is spayed/neutered.
For decreasing weight there are several nutritional solutions available. It is important to use a therapeutic weight loss diet since they are supplemented to supply critical nutrients in appropriate levels while decreasing calories to the amount needed for weight loss.
Increases in protein and fiber have both been shown to help keep cats satiated, or feeling full, while decreasing calorie amounts. By adding certain fiber blends to a reduced calorie diet, cats tend to consume lower calories per meal and take longer before going back for a second meal. Another option for weight loss is a high protein, reduced calorie diet. Protein takes time and energy to digest and it supplies the necessary amino acids for maintaining lean muscle mass while losing fat mass.
Remember to incorporate exercise and play when possible. This could include incorporating kibble into toys or placing food in multiple areas around the house for the cat to “hunt”.