Checking To See Whether Your Pet Is Overweight Could Spare Them Health Problems - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

5/24/07-Tyler

Checking To See Whether Your Pet Is Overweight Could Spare Them Health Problems

Although your dog or cat might not look overweight, it could be. That could end up costing you hundreds of dollars in medical expenses down the long run or even worse.  It could kill your pet. The Federal Drug Administration says at least one in five dogs are overweight.  But, how can you tell if your pet needs to lose weight? You can do so by taking three easy steps, which only take seconds.  

"He weighed 130 lbs.  He should be 105," said Ted Welty.   Welty says his two-year-old dog, Tank, has always been a big boy.  Recently, Ted tried putting Tank, who was weighing in at 130 lbs., on a diet.  "But we couldn't get him to lose any weight," said Welty.

Tank's vet, Dr. Paul Gainer, with Flint Veterinary Clinic, then tried putting him on prescription dog food.   "He gets more quantity, but fewer quantities," said Welty.

Although in Tank's case, it's easy to see he's overweight, it might not be so obvious with your pet.  Dr. Gainer says there's an easy way to tell whether your pet has a few extra pounds or whether it's obese. 

"You can use your eyes and your fingers to determine whether that animal's gotten too big," said Dr. Gainer.   "We want to see a bikini figure where you have a waist line, not a flat line.  You can see that tuck coming up towards the waist and feel that the ribs and look down and see that tuck in at the waist. Those are three easy things you can do in a matter of seconds to determine that your animal is a candidate for maybe losing some pounds," he says.

Dr. Gainer says if your animal is overweight, you should take it to the vet.  That way, you can find out if the problem is a slow metabolism, health problems, or just feeding your pet too much.  Extra weight could lead to heart, respiratory and digestive impairment; a slower healing process; poor resistance to viral and bacterial infections and skin irritations and disease caused by friction within fatty rolls of the skin.

In two months Tank has lost 11 pounds.  He still has 14 more pounds to go on his diet, but after he sheds that weight, he can go back to regular dog food this time, in moderation.  Dr. Gainer says putting your dog on prescription pet food is going to cost your about 50% more than the regular brand but once your pet's weight is regulated, it can be placed back on regular food.  

Oralia Ortega, Reporting.  ortega@kltv.com

 

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