Enfield Veterinary Hospital
94 Coronation Parade
Enfield, NSW, 2136

enfieldvet@bigpond.com.au
Phone: 02 9747 3999
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To Friends of Enfield Vet and their Pets,

This month's newsletter focuses on overweight dogs and cats. Obesity is a real problem for lots of our pets and can have a serious and very negative impact on their quality of life and their lifespan.

For dogs, being overweight has serious consequences for their joint function (amongst other things) - worsening underlying arthritis and making mobility difficult as they age. No one wants to see their arthritic dog in more pain than they should otherwise be so it is important that elderly dogs are kept as lean as possible.

For cats, being overweight predisposes them to type II diabetes and other chronic diseases of the pancreas - just like overwight people. These can be serious and life-long conditions. Diabetes in cats often requires twice daily injectable insulin just like in humans.

The best way to prevent obesity in pets is to provide them with adequate and regular exercise, while also maintaining a calorie-controlled diet - ie not too many treats!!!

If you would like to discuss dietary management for your pet or if you have any questions about obesity please call any time or simply come in and weigh your cat or dog so we can advise you on their ideal weight.

From the Team at Enfield Vet

fat dog
Contents of this newsletter

01  Pet calorie counter

02  Am I exercising my dog enough?

03  How to get your cat to lose weight

04  Is my pet overweight?

05  Puppy enjoys a snack

01 Pet calorie counter
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It's easy to overdo the treats at home and you might not be aware just how much of an impact these treats are having on your pet's weight. 

Keep this calorie translator in mind when you are having trouble saying ‘no’ to those adorable eyes!

For the average 5kg cat:

  • A 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 2.5 hamburgers
  • One potato chip is equivalent to a human eating ½ a hamburger 
  • A glass of milk is equivalent to an human eating 3 hamburgers! (plus cats can't digest the lactose in cow's milk)

For the 10kg dog:

  • A 30g piece of cheese is equivalent to a human eating 1.5 hamburgers
  • A sweet biscuit is equivalent to a human eating 1 hamburger 
  • One sausage is equivalent to a human eating 2.5 hamburgers!

We have plenty of pet friendly treats available that are light on calories so drop in and ask us for a recommendation. 

02 Am I exercising my dog enough?
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When you think about it, our companion dogs have a pretty good deal. They get their food delivered in a bowl and are able to lounge on the couch or lie out on the lawn most of the day. This way of life can unfortunately lead to weight gain and boredom so it's a good idea to check in regularly and ask yourself, "Is my dog getting enough exercise?"

Many pet owners assume that if their dog has access to a yard, she’s getting enough exercise. But dogs generally aren't that good at running laps by themselves and it's the interaction with you that makes all the difference.

The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on her breed, size, age and the condition of her health. Arthritis, heart and respiratory conditions can all be exacerbated by incorrect levels of exercise so it's a good idea to arrange a check up with us before you embark on any new exercise regimes with your pet.

As a general rule, dogs need 60 minutes of exercise daily. Split this in to morning and evening sessions for mental stimulation and to break up the day.

Our top tips:

  • Socialise with other dogs - this is a great way to stimulate your dog's mind and burn some energy. You might make some new friends too! 
  • Try to exercise your dog’s brain. Inspire her with food puzzle toys, hunting for dinner, obedience training and chew toys.
  • Play games that make your dog run around such as fetch or hide-and-seek. But avoid repetitive ball chasing as this can wear out your dog's joints and lead to painful arthritis later in life.

Always ask us if you have any questions about exercising your dog.

03 How to get your cat to lose weight
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If your cat has snuck on some extra kilos over the winter months, here are some ideas to help get him moving and losing.

  • The most important tip is to make sure he is eating the best weight loss diet and the correct amount. Ask us for the best diet recommendation for your cat. 
  • Separate food and water bowls so your cat has to get up and burn energy to get from one to the other. Using the vertical space works well here.
  • For indoor cats, if possible, think about installing a cat run out of a window and down one side of your house.
  • Invest in a laser pointer and start playing! Even the laziest of cats will find these hard to resist.
  • Play hide and seek. Place your cat's food around the house and make him work hard for his dinner!

Please ask us if you have any questions about managing your cat's weight. We are always happy to help so phone us or drop in for a chat today. 

04 Is my pet overweight?
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When it comes to your pet, you might think carrying a few extra kilos isn't a big deal. Think again. Overweight pets are at an increased risk of arthritis, heart disease, respiratory disorders and diabetes. What is alarming is that that most people aren’t even aware that their pet is a bit portly.

The best way to tell if you pet is overweight is to take a closer look at them!

When you peer down from above, your pet will have lost definition of his waist. Instead of an hourglass figure he might look a bit round and may even resemble a barrel on legs. You might also have a bit of trouble feeling his ribs when you run your hands over his sides.

A very obese pet may have neck fat, a pendulous tummy as well as fat deposits over the hips.

If you are worried about your pet's weight, we recommend that you drop in for a weight check with us. We will assess and discuss with you your pet’s body condition and, if necessary, start a weight loss plan.

The best news is that getting your pet to lose weight is easier than you think! Exercise will help but it is absolutely crucial you are feeding your pet the correct diet and the right amount. There are even diets available that will actually increase your pet’s metabolic rate to help your pet lose weight. 

We are always happy to help you out in this department and are the best people to ask for more information.

05 Puppy enjoys a snack

As this month's newsletter focuses on the 'weighty issues' and if your pet is a little portly we've got some great tips on how to prevent and fight obesity. 

We thought we'd share a funny video to get things rolling so here's a cute French bulldog puppy enjoying a healthy snack! We do think he might have bitten off more than he can chew...

We often get asked if it's okay for dogs to eat watermelon. The flesh is fine but it's best you don't let your pooch eat the seeds or the skin as these can cause a gastric upset and even an obstruction. 

Click here to watch out video of the month!