Hopeful Henry: Pet obesity awareness | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Hopeful Henry: Pet obesity awareness

Did you know that 30 percent of cats ore overweight, 27 percent are obese and 36 percent of dogs are overweight and 17 percent are obese? Surprising but true, a 12-pound Yorkie is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds, a 14 pound cat is equivalent to a 237 pound man, 90 pound Labrador Retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5-feet-4 inches inches female or a 217 pound 5'9" male.

As this is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, I thought it important to bring to light these facts and the issues that arise because of pet obesity.

Some of the medical issues caused by obesity in pets are osteoarthritis, insulin resistance and type II diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, cranial crucate ligament injury, kidney disease, many forms of cancer. All these factors contribute to a decreased life expectancy of as much as two-and-a-half years!

How should you go about helping your pets lose those extra unhealthy pounds?

First never put your dog or cat on a diet without the assistance of your veterinarian. You want to first check to see if there are any medical reasons that your pup is overweight. Some medical reasons your dog maybe over weight are hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism or Cushing's disease. These diseases, along with others, should be eliminated prior to staring a doggie diet. When it comes to Kitty it is extremely important to get guidance from your veterinarian. Cats that are overweight or obese must eat! Their physiology is different than a dogs and if they do not eat for as little as two consecutive days, they can develop a life-threatening form of liver disease known as hepatic lipidosis. Also your veterinarian will be able to guide you on your pets proper calorie intake and suggest the correct food.

When changing a pet food, allow several days for the transition. Start by substituting one-quarter of the diet for one to two days, then increase to one-half volume of food for a few more days, then three-quarter new food for the final couple of days before completely switching to the new diet. When feeding your pet, try moving the food bowl around, if you have an upstairs move it there, this way they have to walk to their food. Move the food bowl as far away from you cat or dogs favorite haunts as possible, many fat cats and dogs will sleep and lay near the food bowl so they don't have to travel far when they get the urge to eat.

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Exercise, exercise, exercise!

OK, I know if you have a fat cat it's not easy to get them exercising but you can do it with a little creativity. Unlike dogs cats prefer a 100 yard dash to a marathon, it is in their nature to express a lot of energy for a short period of time then rest for hours before doing it again. A dog can run and run and run and play and play and run some more. Some suggestions for kitty are to use feather toys, flashlights, paper bags (cut off handles) with a little cat nip inside. Try to engage your cat at least twice a day for 10 minutes. Switch up your cats toys. What is interesting today can be a complete bore the next. With a dog exercise the right way: Walking for weight loss is different than walking for pleasure. Make it your point to walk briskly, don't stop to smell the roses on the way to your location and then take the pleasure walk on the way home.

Submit questions or letters via email to AskHenry@LakeTahoeHumaneSociety.org or by mail to P.O. Box PET South Lake Tahoe Calif. 96158. Like us on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/LakeTahoeHumaneSocietySPCA. Become a Facebook friend of HopefulHenry at http://www.Facebook.com/Hopeful.Henry.

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