Pet Obesity

Obesity is the most common nutritional disease in dogs and cats.  An estimated 45% of all U.S. pets are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.  While the best treatment is prevention, it’s never too late to start a weight loss program for your pet.  It is more common with advancing age and in females.  Animals that are 15% over optimum body weight have a much higher incidence of arthritis, heart disease, liver disease, diabetes, and impaired reproductive ability.  Research in both humans and animals suggests that increased weight can shorten one’s life as well.

How Do I Know If My Pet is Overweight?

If you are unsure what your pet’s optimum weight should be, perform this simple test: Place your hands on your pet’s rib cage with your thumbs on its back.

  • If you feel the ribs easily, your pet is probably at a good weight.
  • If you can feel fat between the skin and the ribs or the ribs are difficult to feel, your pet is overweight.
  • If you can’t feel the ribs at all, your pet is most likely obese.

In some pets, particularly cats, with a large or pendulous abdomen may indicate obesity. We strongly recommend having a veterinarian exam your pet to rule out diseases that can mimic obesity such as heart, kidney, or glandular disease (low thyroid or adrenal dysfunction).  It is important for us to rule out underlying diseases prior to beginning a vigorous weight loss program.

How Can I Help My Pet Lose Weight?

If your pet is overweight there are methods for losing those unhealthy pounds.  With careful dietary management we can help you improve your pet’s health and quality of life.  We carry prescription diet formulations that can make dieting easy for you and your pet. There are even new diets now available that control your pet’s weight using ingredients to promote good metabolic function! Routine walks and playtime combined with a sensible feeding schedule may help avert the need for medical intervention.  As your pet ages, we may recommend changing to a senior maintenance or metabolic diet depending upon our physical exam findings.  Please contact us for our professional recommendations.

Average Daily Caloric Needs For Pets

10 Pound Cat                  275 calories
10 Pound Dog                  300 calories
20 Pound Dog                  500 calories
50 Pound Dog                  1200 calories

Ideal Pet Weight Ranges

Labarador Retriever                    55-80 pounds
Golden Retriever                           55-75 pounds
Yorkshire Terrier                         8 pounds
German Shepherd                       70-95 pounds
Beagle                                             26-31 pounds
Dachshund                                    Less than 16 pounds
Boxer                                               53-70 pounds
Poodles (Miniature)                    11 pounds
Shih Tzu                                         8-18 pounds
Miniature Schnauzer                   11-15 pounds
Domestic Cat                                  8-10 pounds
Persian Cat                                     10-11 pounds
Siamese Cat                                    5-10 pounds
Maine Coon Cat                            11-15 pounds

Contact Us

Animal Medical Center
229 N. US Hwy 31 South
Traverse City, MI 49685

(231) 943-8500

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Our Hours

Monday: 7:00am – 5:30pm
Tuesday: 7:00am – 5:30pm
Wednesday: 8:00am – 4:30pm
Thursday: 7:00am – 7:00pm
Friday: 8:00am – 5:30pm
Select Saturdays: 8:00am – Noon
Sunday: Closed

After-Hour Emergency?

Please call Bay Area Pet Hospital

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