Garfield syndrome and obesity in cats
The number of dogs and cats that can be considered obese has increased in recent years, parallel to the rising obesity levels that have been seen in humans, with all that that entails. Because if there is something troubling in the increasing number of obese pets it is that excess weight carries higher rates of disease in dogs and cats, and a shorter life expectancy. For example, arthritis in dogs and diseases of the urinary tract in cats are especially related to obesity. Other diseases, such as diabetes and cardiovascular and liver diseases, are also quite frequent among obese pets.
The fundamental difference between obesity in humans and animals is that the latter can be avoided, as the owner can control the calories and nutrients that his or her pets eat. The natural instinct of dogs and cats is to eat whenever and wherever they can. This may lead them to try to persuade their owners to feed them when they have had enough.
Overweight may also be avoided by regularly monitoring the size and weight of the pet. Consult your veterinarian for methods of measuring the size according to the different breeds. It is also important to keep in mind that the main meals should be prepared as recommended on the feed bags. It is advisable to avoid leftovers from human meals, as it is harder to control calories and nutrition in managing leftovers.
If it's too late and your dog or your cat has reached obesity, you must follow a weight reduction program. One option is to give it specific diet food. Another is to reduce food rations as weight decreases. When the pet reaches its ideal weight, you should return to normal rations. Besides reducing the food, you must also increase exercise. For dogs, it is often enough to take longer and more frequent walks, while for cats you have to increase activity by organising play sessions.
Although, in either case, we recommend that you go to the vet in the first instance because, as with individuals, weight reduction programmes work best when the patient has and continues to support a suitable program.