One of the biggest problems we have in veterinarian medicine is obesity. Many people show their love for their dogs with food and treats, not realizing they are in fact setting their dogs up for serious health problems and pain. The number of calories your dog’s ingest are determined only by you, and thus it is your responsibility to ensure they maintain an optimal weight, so they can enjoy their lives to the fullest.

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When is a dog considered to be overweight?

Veterinarians use body condition score (BCS) criteria to classify each pet. Some of the criteria include being able to feel the ribs, but not see them, pinching in at the waist and tucking up under the belly. It is not just the BCS that is relevant to your veterinary team, the muscle condition score (MSC) is something else we measure to evaluate the health of your pets. It is crucial to maintaining good muscling, especially when losing weight.

Are some breeds prone to obesity?

Absolutely! Many breeds seem to be prone to obesity. Some owners are surprised when we tell them their pets are overweight because their pets look like all the other pets of that breed. Obesity should not become a new breed standard, but in some cases, it is coming close. Some breeds that are especially at risk are Golden Retrievers, Labradors, Newfoundlands, Cocker Spaniels, Pugs, and Bichons, to name a few.

Why should you have weight loss & management consultation at a clinic?

It is so important to address obesity as a health concern. Obesity can lead to many problems including diabetes, heart disease and high blood pressure, decreased liver function, breathing problems, exercise intolerance, heat intolerance, increased anaesthetic risks, damage to joints, bones and ligaments. The take-home message is; obesity decreases your pet’s quality and length of life. This is why weight management and prevention of obesity is something we are firmly promoting.

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