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Although commonly used as a description for being “overweight”. The term “obesity” is a condition where a pet’s weight is more than 15 percent above normal.  Obesity is the most common nutritional disorder seen in cats and dogs.  It has been estimated that as many as one in three pets are overweight.

Obesity is seen more commonly with advancing age, and is more common in females than males.  As there are a number of health risks that the obese pet faces, the treatment and prevention of obesity is highly desirable. 

Because obesity can have a slow onset, most owners hardly notice that their pet’s weight has crept above the ideal!  Although breed, heredity, sex and age are contributing factors to obesity, most obesity is caused simply because a pet eats more calories than he or she needs.  This means too much food, too little exercise, or a combination of both.  The excess calories, unable to be used, are stored by the body as fat. 

In addition to the normal diet a major cause of excess calories is the consumption of snacks and table scraps e.g. the fat taken off our own steak!  These treats are very high in energy and consequently oversupply a pet with calories.

Uncomplicated obesity is treated by:

• Reducing the pet’s intake of calories.
• Increasing energy output through exercise.

The best way is to feed a special Prescription Diet, which is low in calories, low in fat and high in fibre.  Hills Prescription Diet Canine r/d and Hills Prescription Diet Feline r/d are two products commonly used to help weight reduction.  They are nutritionally complete and once your pet has regained their healthier, ideal weight another product such as Prescription Diet Canine w/d or Prescription Diet Feline w/d may be recommended.  These diets are moderately restricted in calories and avoid obesity recurring.

Your veterinarian will plan a safe and effective weight loss programme, individually suited to your pet’s needs, which includes:

• Accurate weighing and setting of an ideal or ‘target’ weight.
• Selection of the most suitable diet for your pet.
• Calculation of feeding quantities.
• Timing of periodic weigh-ins to monitor progress.

You and your household play a very important part in making the weight loss programme a success.

Following the guidelines below you can look forward to a slimmer pet… 

• Feed only the recommended Prescription Diet formula, in the quantities and frequency advised by your veterinarian.
• Do not feed snacks or tit bits.
• Follow exercise instructions.

If you are not seeing the desired weight loss, contact your veterinarian for assistance.  We may need to adjust the quantity being fed.  It is unlikely you’ll see significant weight loss in the first two weeks, so don’t despair!

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