Pet Health Check

In the New Year we focus on improving our health, but what about our pets? PJ's Pets Chief Veterinarian, Dr. Jeff, tells us about the risks of obesity in pets and how to get your pet healthy and in shape.

Obesity is a common problem in pets that is completely avoidable.

As pets age their metabolism changes and it's easy for weight gain to occur. Many owners simply don't make time for a regular exercise program and over reward their pet with treats and table scraps, which can create serious health problems.

Extra weight poses serious risks to your pet's health.

Excess weight takes a toll on your pet's bones and joints, stressing the connective tissues and pounding the protective cartilaginous surfaces. Over time this can result in irreversible arthritis and deformity.

The heart also experiences greater resistance to flow and becomes overworked and the pancreas gets exhausted dealing with excessive insulin demands, which can leave the pet in a diabetic state.

Tips On Getting Rover In Shape:

Create an exercise routine for you and your pet and stick to it

Regular exercise and play is an integral part of a pet's daily needs and it's important to find ways to maintain this, particularly in the winter. Owners need to try to go for walks, play ball or play the old "chase me, chase me" game outside whenever possible.

Get bundled up

The vast majority of dogs are well equipped to handle the cold, but for pets sensitive to winter weather there are many specially designed sweaters, vests and paw boots to keep them warm.

A belly rub is just as good as a treat

Many well intentioned pet owners constantly reward their pets with table scraps or treats. Next time your pet is well behaved, or performs a great trick, why not give them a belly rub or an extra walk as a treat.

When you do give your pet treats, try a low-calorie treat and make them work for it by doing a sit, stay or shake a paw.

Visit your Vet

If you're seriously concerned about your pet's weight visit your veterinarian for a check up to determine if there is an underlying cause for your pet's weight gain. Once any serious conditions are ruled out, your vet will work to create a weight loss program, which may include a calorie reduced diet and exercise plan.