Both of my cats love treats, and they get so excited whenever I bring out the treat bag that it’s hard to resist giving them “just one more.” However, if you’re not careful with the treats and with the mealtime portions, it’s easy to end up with a fat cat. It is estimated that over 50% of cats are overweight or obese, and a fat cat is at risk for problems such as diabetes, joint pain, cardiovascular disease and liver problems such as hepatic lipidosis. If the road to obesity is paved with good treats, at least there are some simple things you can do to help your cat stay healthy without putting away the treat jar completely. Read More
Skipper and Slouch aren’t the only adopted canines in our life.
First there was Spud. When I first met my (soon-to-be) husband, Chris, the love of his life was Spud. She was his rescue mutt and the sweetest little fuzzy baked potato I’ve ever rocked to sleep on a first date. I think I fell in love with Spud at first sight, which was quite a shock if you’ve never seen a 25 pound, furry potato with stubby legs before. Read More »
|A common presentation of many older pets is the history of weight loss. Mild weight loss may be an innocent age-related change. However, in other cases weight loss can be a sign of a more serious medical condition. Amongst the factors that help rule out the causes include intestinal parasites, metabolic diseases of the liver, kidneys or pancreas, inflammatory bowel disease, infectious disease, degenerative or autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer.|
Any pet with significant weight loss should have a proper veterinary exam and a full CBC/chemistry blood panel and urine analysis as baseline information. If further diagnostics are needed X-rays and ultrasound may be required. For pets with mild nonspecific weight loss, certainly a better diet can be tried such as Halo or Nature’s Variety, as well as adding digestive enzymes to meals including NaturVet Enzymes from 1800petmeds. If in doubt, however it is always best to have a proper and full veterinary exam.
Weight loss is one of the more common general nonspecific symptoms of disease in our dogs and cats. Weight loss may be accompanied digestive tract symptoms of diarrhea or vomiting or changes in appetite, as well as other various symptoms. Depending upon the age of the animal, there are many possible causes. Certainly dietary factors and poor or inadequate diet can play a role in many animals.
In particularly younger pets various parasites can be involved as well. Often veterinarians will start with a microscopic stool check to see if there are any parasites. Even when stools are negative, veterinarians will often worm pets with products like Panacur-C or Nemex to treat for hidden worms. Various metabolic diseases of the pancreas (including inadequate production of enzymes and diabetes), liver, kidneys and thyroid can be involved with chronic weight loss. Malabsorption from inflammatory bowel disease or cancer can also cause chronic weight loss.
If a pet is otherwise acting normal, an animal guardian can certainly try changing the diet to an all natural diet like Nature’s Variety or Halo, or can add digestive tract enzymes to the meals such as NaturVet enzymes. If a pet is chronically or severely ill with accompanying weight loss, a full veterinary workup, including blood work, X-rays, stool/urine checks and possibly X-rays and ultrasound are all possibly indicated.
|A question commonly asked particularly by dog owners is how much exercise should their dog or cat get. Of course the answer will depend upon the age, breed and health/medical history of the particular pet, but assuming one has a young healthy adult dog, most pets do not have limits on their exercise. Proper exercise can help keep the weight stable, as well as keep the heart, brain and body healthy.|
In the wild, dogs and cats can travel 20 to 30 miles a day so certainly walking or jogging a few miles with a dog in most cases is helpful to both animal guardian and pet. As with humans, before starting any exercise program, it is important for a dog to have a complete medical exam by a veterinarian, including listening to the heart and blood work if indicated, including heartworm testing. In those dogs who spend a lot of time outside exercising, it is important to make sure they are on monthly heartworm preventatives such as Heartgard or Sentinel to reduce risk of transmission of heartworms and intestinal parasites.
Kitties can also be trained to a leash and exercised as well by their owners through walks. Indoor cats should also get plenty of exercise using various toys, laser lights and the like to try and. work off extra calories from lack of exercise from being an indoor cat. 1800petmeds has some wonderful pet toys and indoor pet pens to help include more and exercise into your pet’s daily activities.
|Obesity is one of the biggest problems seen not only in humans but our canine and feline animal companions as well. The two main reasons behind this epidemic for all species involve too many calories in and not enough exercise. This is often complicated by the fact that given the carnivorous nature of both dogs and cats, being more evolved to eat meat sources of protein, most of the dry commercial diet kibbles fed by guardians around the country are loaded with processed and/or refined carbohydrates as the chief economic protein source for pet food companies.|
However as in people, it is the ingestion of too many carbohydrates that is involved with most of the weight gain. This is especially problematic in the obligatory carnivorous cats, where many guardians feed dry food only thinking it is mistakenly better for their teeth, as well as better for their feline companion’s health. The ideal diet for cats in most cases is a fresh high protein/meat based diet. Meat is rich in protein, fat and is 75% water. Dry kibbles not only put extra strain on the urinary system and kidneys of cats, but are a very big cause of weight gain, particularly in indoor only cats who get very little exercise.
With weight gain and obesity in both dogs and cats, there have been documented increased health risks known to occur, just as there are in people. Increased risk of diabetes, chronic respiratory and cardiac disorders, joint and back problems and even cancer is seen in obese patients. If one were to feed their pets the suggested serving amount placed on commercial pet food bags, than all pets would be obese, as these feeding suggestions are often way too high. Back in 2007, the FDA approved an obesity treatment drug for dogs only called Slentrol (main ingredient dirlotapide). In my opinion and experience I have not been impressed with the results in pets treated with this medication, as well as my concern for side effects involving the digestive tract and in particular the liver.
From what I understand, this was a drug that failed in human trials as an obesity treatment drug, but gained approval for use in dogs. The best suggestions I can make to either avoid and/or treat obesity in our pets is to first feed a diet as possible. The best is a proper home made diet, following recipes by experts like Richard Pitcairn and Donald Strombeck, whose books can be easily obtained and both contain balanced, easy to do, homemade recipes. If this is not possible, than moving toward at least a fresh natural diet with less carbs and higher protein levels and fat in cats and dogs would be my next suggestion. Many of the so called “reduced calorie” diets sold by many veterinarians across the country, as well as seen on supermarket shelves are loaded with lesser quality ingredients in my opinion, as well as too many processed carbohydrates for effective long term and safe weight loss.
There are some excellent natural supplements that can help with weight loss including inclusion of such products like Vetri-DMG liquid, coenzyme Q-10, as well as trace minerals like chromium. I always recommend that any guardian using such supplements work closely with a more holistic-minded veterinarian, who has more of an interest in species appropriate nutrition than typical conventional veterinarians, whose training in nutrition only includes usually a 2 hour course, as well as whose recommendations are based on what pet company sales representatives tell them, rather than what they learned in nutritional class in veterinary school. And of course giving our feline and canine companions as much exercise as possible (under veterinarian’s recommendation) is always important when implementing any weight loss program.