Obesity isn’t just a human problem, it’s a pet problem, too. Obesity doesn’t just slow our dogs, cats, rabbits, and other pets down, it also shortens their lives. Overweight pets are more at risk for many diseases and health issues and the extra weight can have a negative impact on the pet’s quality of life.
So what do you need to know to prevent pet obesity?
How Big of a Problem is Obesity for American Pets?
Over half of our pets are considered overweight or obese. In 2018, 60% of cats in America were overweight or obese and 56% of dogs were considered too plump. Exactly how many pets does that amount to? Almost 100 million. That’s a lot of excess pounds!
While this has a huge impact on pet health, it also affects how much people pay for veterinary care. One report from 2016 estimates that Americans paid an extra $62 million dollars in vet bills for obesity-related issues.
With numbers like these, many people consider pet obesity an epidemic.
How Did Our Pets Get So Fat?
The world of veterinary nutrition has grown leaps and bounds over the past decades. We’ve seen a lot of progress in our understanding of what pets need to eat to be healthy. Yet this problem seems to increase just as quickly. In fact, studies show that rates of pet obesity have continuously climbed since 2009.
So, how do pets, despite having balanced diets, nutritional guidelines, and portion recommendations still get so big? Pet parents tend to overfeed, over-treat, and let their pets overindulge in handouts.
People love their pets. And sometimes this love manifests in feeding. We get that. But obesity is preventable. So, we’re happy to chat with you about other forms of affection your pet might enjoy. We also have some great tips on ignoring those puppy eyes.
Obesity is Painful and Shortens Pets’ Lives
When it comes to pets, extra weight isn’t a minor health issue. It’s the difference between your pet becoming ill and having a shorter life, or living healthily and happily into her advanced years.
Some complications of obese pets have a higher risk for include:
- Urinary Tract Disease and Bladder Issues
- Liver Disease
- Thyroid Problems
- Torn Knee Ligaments
- Spinal Issues
- Kidney Disease
- Heart Failure
- High Blood Pressure
- Bladder Issues and Urinary Tract Disease
- Chronic Kidney Disease
- Liver Disease
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Failure
- Gall Bladder Disorder
- Spinal Issues
Additionally, carrying around extra weight does a number on your pet’s joints and mood. Pets that can’t get around don’t have as much fun. And many studies show an increased risk of cancer and a decrease in a pet’s life expectancy - by up to two years - in overweight pets.
How Can You Tell if Your Pet is Obese?
Sometimes it can be hard to tell (or admit) that your pet is overweight. We’ve heard it all, from “he’s not overweight, he’s just fluffy” or “she’s not obese, she just has a thick coat.” Many pet parents feel guilty when their pet gets on the scale, but you should only feel guilty if you’re unwilling to try to help your pet.
So, take a moment and do a quick check to see if your pet may be a little chubbier than she should be.
Common signs that your dog or cat is overweight include:
- Enough fat over their ribs that it’s difficult to feel them
- A tummy that is wider than her ribs
- A tummy that tends to hang down.
- Slowing down and not being able to jump, run, or maneuver like they used to.
How You Can Fight the Pet Obesity Epidemic
The first step to helping your pet is recognizing that they are overweight. Still not sure if after you’ve read the list above? Give us a call.
We can work together to tailor a weight loss plan for your pet. We can look at options, including
- Portion control
- Strategies that help pet parents not overfeed
- Exercise routine
Chubby Pets May Be Adorable But Their Condition Is Not
Help fight the battle against pet obesity and keep your pet in a healthy shape. Weight control can lengthen your pet’s life and improve her quality of life. It’s up to you to keep your pet healthy but we’re here to help you every step of the way. Just give us a call and we’re happy to chat about a plan during your next appointment.
Photo Credit: Pixabay
So much goes into the care we provide every pet and person that walks through our doors. And our mission to provide each pet with the best medical care wouldn’t be possible without our hardworking, dedicated, and compassionate team of skilled veterinary technicians.
And while we are thankful for them every day of the year, we want to take the time this National Veterinary Technician Week to show just how vital they are to our practice and the lives of your pets.
Why Do Veterinary Technicians Deserve a Week’s Worth of Recognition Each Year?
Many of our clients interact with our vet techs when they come in and don’t even realize these special women have a highly esteemed title and a very difficult job.
Jennifer, Melissa (Missy), Jessica, Britt, Travis, Courtney, and Emily are all our talented and amazing vet techs. Each of these women worked hard to get where they are and share their love and care for animals daily. They zoom in and out of rooms, greet pets, take vitals, and are often the first medical staffers you share your pet’s status with.
The week of October 13th through 19th is dedicated to showing how much these individuals do to make pets’ lives better because they deserve to be recognized for their commitment and talent.
This year’s National Veterinary Tech Week is all about action, and boy does that seem fitting. It takes action to be a skilled vet tech. And our vet techs seem to magically fly and flutter around our practice. They seem to be in more than one place at a time, and they seem to practically read our minds at other times.
So, What Makes Our Veterinary Technicians Beyond Amazing?
1. Veterinary Technicians Are the Nurses of Our Veterinary Medicine World
This means they’re on their feet all day. They work closely alongside each of our doctors to provide your pet with the best care. This may mean, holding a Great Dane still for a blood draw or explaining to a client the benefits of certain vaccines. They keep up with charts, take notes on pets, prep vaccines, and educate pet parents.
2. Our Vet Techs Face Each Challenge with Genuine Smiles
Each of our vet techs proves that there are no challenges too big to face when the wellbeing of a pet is at risk. Because a vet tech is often the first person you see in the examination room, they hear your worries and concerns. They also answer many of your preliminary questions.
And you know what? They leave the room and chat with the doctors while remaining ready to dive into any situation we face. They never complain when procedures are laborious, difficult, or long. And we love them for that.
3. We Can’t Help But Be Reminded of Why Our Veterinary Technicians are the Best Each Day
Vet techs have stressful jobs. They often function as extra eyes, ears, and muscles. And you would think normal people would tire of the fast-paced, intense, emotional nature of their job, but we’re constantly reminded of how much they care. It warms the heart to hear them talk sweetly to a pet that feels under the weather or share encouraging words to a dog that’s a bit shy.
4. Our Veterinary Technicians Extend Their Care and Compassion Beyond the Workday
What came first: The love of animals or the career? Well, with our team of experienced vet techs, it’s obvious they are, always have been, and always will be true animal lovers. And we are so happy to watch our team grow. What should you know about our technicians?
Emily began her career as a kennel tech and loved those furry faces so much, she dedicated herself to become a vet tech. And guess what? She’s excellent at her job!
Missy has worked with animals for almost two decades and surrounds herself with her own zoo each day she leaves, here. She has dogs, cats, and chickens!
Jennifer demonstrated her dedication to helping animals in need through her work at the Humane Society and continues to do so by rescuing and caring for injured strays in her free time.
Travis has a genuine appreciation of the value that pets add to our lives and loves working with them and their owners.
Brittany (you may know her as “Britt”) has grown up in the veterinary field. It was a natural step for her to become a tech.
Courtney grew up with a love of animals, as did all of our technicians. Her kind demeanor is a true comfort to our patients.
5. And Their Amazing Attitudes Inspire Those Around Them
It’s true that when our practice opens each day, our staff seems to gravitate to the positivity and balance of our vet techs. They tend to be the people others look toward for inspiration and a positive reminder of how much we can do for others.
Thank You to Our Veterinary Technicians and the Other Vet Techs Out There
These skilled and educated professionals are the backbone of a well-run practice. They exemplify what medical care for pets should look like. What we’re getting at is
“Thanks!” to our vet techs at Grantsburg Animal Hospital and Wild River Veterinary Clinic. We couldn’t care for pets the way we do without you.
Be sure to take the time to thank any vet techs you know this week. We know our pets benefit from their dedication, kindness, and patience.