Ask Dr. Suze

If weight loss and exercise feature on your new years’ resolution list it might also be worth considering the same for your pets!

Author: Dr. Susanna – Founding Director & Veterinary Surgeon of Dr. Suze – My Visiting Vet
Dr Susanna graduated from the University of Bristol in the UK and has over a decade of international veterinary experience including clinical treatment of creatures great and small, veterinary pharmaceutical technical advisory and specialist animal diabetic practice. She loves her job and is passionate about providing the best veterinary solutions with a focus on preventative medicine. Dr. Susanna is a member of the Australian Veterinary Association and currently completing the International Certificate at the Australian College of Veterinary Acupuncture. Susanna started Dr. Suze – My Visiting Vet to provide a more personalised service for pets and their owners, after experiencing how much more comfortable her late Border Collie “Ben” felt receiving care at home. Find out more about Dr. Suze – My Visiting Vet here.

Happy 2019! I hope you all had a wonderful festive season and are feeling well rested and hyped for the year ahead. If, like myself, weight loss and exercise feature on your new years’ resolution list it might also be worth considering the same for your pets…

Is pet obesity an issue in Australia?

A joint study conducted by Sydney University and the RSPCA demonstrated a 41% prevalence of overweight and obese dogs in Australia under the age of 10. This appears to be in line with similar global studies that indicate a prevalence of up to 44% in dogs and 40% in cats.

Should I be concerned for my pets’ health if they are overweight?

Overweight pets, like their human counterparts, are more susceptible to health problems such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, lethargy, cardiovascular disease, liver disease and face increased risk as surgical candidates.

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

As a general guide you should be able to feel your pet’s ribs with minimal fat coverage as you feel the sides of their body with minimal pressure. Their waist should be easily seen or palpated, just behind the ribcage, when viewed from above and when you view your pet from the side, you should be able to note a tucked in abdomen. For a pictorial guide please refer to the link below or even better, ask your vet for an objective assessment.

https://www.wsava.org/WSAVA/media/Arpita-and-Emma-editorial/Body-Condition-Score-Dog.pdf

My vet has told me my dog is overweight but he hardly eats anything!

It’s always worth reviewing what exactly you are feeding your pet/s. Different pets have different dietary requirements depending on their life stage, activity and health status. Steady weight gain over time is likely due to be an imbalance of these factors so it’s always worth checking the back of the packet to make sure you are meeting the guidelines for your pets’ IDEAL weight, not their current weight. Remember treats and human food scraps also contribute to your pet’s overall calorific intake.

If you are struggling or concerned about your pet’s weight, speak to your veterinary healthcare provider for a health check and comprehensive weight loss plan for 2019.

Thank you Dr. Suze! Have questions about your best friend? Don’t be shy – Email us your questions to have them answered.

Please note the information in this article is of a general nature and is not intended to be a substitute for professional healthcare advice. If you have specific concerns about your pet, you should always seek advice directly from your veterinary healthcare practitioner.