Five Expert Tips to Managing Your Pet's Weight
Famed pet nutritionist Dr. Linder weighs in with her top preventive steps
In honor of Pet Obesity Awareness Day, we reached out to one of the country's preeminent pet nutritionists, Dr. Deborah Linder. Dr. Linder made headlines earlier last month as the Director of the country's very first Obesity Clinic for Animals at Tufts. It is no secret that humans are not the only ones with expanding waistlines: Banfield Pet Hospital recently found 1 in 5 dogs and cats are either overweight or obese.
Dr.Linder's Obesity Clinic for Animals addresses this health problem head-on. Located in Grafton, Massachusetts, the clinic aims to see 600 clients by 2015. You can avoid a trek up to Grafton by following Dr.Linder’s preventive tips for optimal pet weight management.
1. Reduce calories at the time of spay/neuter when energy requirements decrease (but don’t change to an adult food until at least one year of age).
2. Assess a full diet history including treats, table food, medication administration, and dental or rawhide chews. Those all add calories that may be unbalancing your pet's diet.
3. Measure your pet's weight and body condition score and talk with your veterinarian about any concerns.
4. Address any body condition score over ideal. Losing a small amount of weight is much easier than significant obesity.
5. If weight loss is not successful or other diseases are present, consult with a board-certified veterinary nutritionist near you.
Is your pet already overweight? According to Dr. Linder, there are a few different scales used to indicate obesity, but "all are based on the amount of fat over a pet's ribcage. For dogs and cats, if you touch around the pet’s rib cage, it should feel no more padded than the back of the owner’s hand."
Want to know more about managing your pet’s weight? Check out Petside's full health coverage here.