The Vet Says

CONTINUING our monthly series of articles contributed by the vets and nurses at Thrums Veterinary Group.

At this time of year, it is not only ourselves who are prone to putting on a bit of weight, our pets unfortunately will often succumb to the same problem too! This is usually a combination of shorter or less frequent walks and the tendency for us to take pity on them while we are indulging in the usual surplus of food and sweets around Christmas time.

Unfortunately, many owners are blind to the fact that poor Fido has actually gained several kilos since the summertime and it is only when he is actually weighed that they realise the extent of the problem.

Often, when questioned, these owners will admit that their beloved pet has actually shown less interest in going for a walk or becomes breathless very easily.

Other warning signs are an increased stiffness on rising or even a tendency just to lie about most of the time.

Many of our clients bring their dog into the surgery at regular intervals to have their weight checked and for free advice about this with the vet nurse. We are always very happy to do this and it can be very useful to monitor any changes. However, it is important not to get too hung up about their actual weight as this can vary widely within dogs of the same breed or type. What is more important is how your pet actually looks and feels. You should be able to feel their ribs without using too much pressure and they should have an obvious waist when looking from both the side and from above. Sadly, many dogs which come through our doors do not fit these criteria and most of them will have a shorter and less active life than they might otherwise have had. Problems which are commonly made worse by being overweight include heart disease, arthritis and Diabetes.

If you suspect that your pet may be getting overweight, the first thing to do is to arrange a check up with your vet or vet nurse to ensure there are no underlying problems such as an underactive thyroid gland. Assuming everything is ok, you will be given advice about diet and exercise which will hopefully reap huge rewards if you follow it carefully. Often you will notice that they are much more active than they have been for a while and generally appear brighter.

Please contact us today if you would like us to weigh your pet and for advice on management and preventing obesity in dogs or cats – our staff are here to help!