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Thread: Fat Pets: a UK epidemic!

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Dublin, Ireland
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    Default Fat Pets: a UK epidemic!

    This says 59% of dogs in the UK are too fat -- is your cavalier in that 59%?!

    Having an overweight cavalier takes potentially years -- yes, years! -- off its life and WILL cause your cavalier's heart to fail faster -- even an extra pound can add a mile of blood vessels to service the new fat, and the heart has to work harder to move that blood around, meaning the mitral valves give out sooner than they otherwise would. Obesity also causes or contributes to a huge, long list of health issues! Please opt for appropriate meals and healthy treats -- and keep your dog happy and alive and with you for as long as possible!

    From Pete the Vet's Daily Telegraph blog:

    Fat pets: an epidemic in the UK

    By Pete Wedderburn Health and lifestyle Last updated: July 26th, 2010

    From coffee-table-profile dogs to football-shaped cats and rabbits with double-double chins, the problem caused by too many calories and not enough exercise is out of control. A study just published shows that 59 per cent of pet dogs are overweight, with 20 per cent being clinically obese.

    Obesity is bad enough on its own, making it difficult for animals to move around and do simple daily tasks like grooming themselves. But additionally, it aggravates all sorts of other problems, including arthritis, heart disease, and diabetes.

    You’d think it would be simple to keep pets slim and trim; after all, they can only eat what we give them. If your pet gets fat, offer a little less food, and they’ll soon slim down. Animals can’t open fridges or cupboards to help themselves when no-one’s looking.

    Pet owners love to watch their animals enjoying eating, tucking into food with relish. There’s no doubt that it’s a satisfying sight, but why do people blank out the consequent distressing sight of a fat pet, having difficulty getting up because of the excessive weight?

    The study also showed that pets fed on table scraps were more likely to be classed as obese, while those that received snacks and treats were significantly more likely to be overweight. I’ve often noticed this in practice: animals turn their nose away from their normal daily ration, because they’re not hungry. But if they’re offered a tasty treat, they’ll happily tuck into a little more. Some pet owners even complain to me that their obese pets aren’t hungry. They tell me that they have to tempt their pets with special home-cooked delicacies. I try to convince them that their pet isn’t hungry because its body doesn’t need any more calories, but I seem to be wasting my time. They just don’t get it.

    When a pet becomes fat, it can be challenging to reverse the trend. Strict diet and exercise regimes are needed, using measured amounts of special low calorie pet food. Many overweight pets never regain the trim shape of their youth.
    It’s far easier to identify a trend to obesity at an early stage, and then to trim back the normal daily rations before there is a big problem. If you are not sure about your pet’s weight, go to your local vet clinic for an assessment. Vets and nurses are trained to help you. One of the real fringe benefits of the annual pet health check is an annual “weigh-in”.

    If your pet does gain unwanted weight, your local vet nurse is your closest ally in your effort to get that weight off again. Many vet nurses have a special interest in animal nutrition, and some even run “obesity clinics” for pets. These work in a similar way to human weight control clubs. First, your pet is weighed, to establish the severity of the problem. Next, a diet-and-exercise regime is designed, personalised for your pet. Special low-calorie diets are available to make it easy for animals to lose weight in a steady, controlled fashion. You are told exactly how much to give every day. If you follow the instructions, you are almost guaranteed to be successful.

    These obesity clinics are often free-of-charge, and although there is some cost involved in purchasing the special low-calorie diets, in the long run, money is saved in other ways. Diseases of fat pets – such as arthritis, heart disease and diabetes – are expensive to treat.

    Slim pets are happier, healthier pets, but 59 per cent of dog owners out there don’t seem to be listening to this message. Time for the RSPCA police to get out the owner handcuffs en masse?
    Cavaliers: Tansy : Mindy Connie Roxy Neasa Gus
    In memory: My beautiful Jaspar Lucy Leo Lily Libby

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Worcestershire, UK
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    You're right to emphasise this, Karlin.

    I've had several old girls with MVD who have nevertheless made it till at least 10 years of age, and I'm sure that's mainly because I've followed my excellent vet's advice and not overfed them.

    It's terribly sad when you see so many Cavs out and about who are struggling to even plod along behind their owners, let alone have a good brisk walk. I think they are not helped by having such appealing eyes and waggy tails - so difficult to resist the titbits!!
    Marie-Anne taken over by
    Hattie (Blenheim) Poppy (Blenheim) + Lucy (Shih-tzu)
    Louie, Joss, Peppa, Megan, Victoria all waiting patiently at the Bridge

  3. #3
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    Oct 2008
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    I think North American pets are in the same boat. I know of two other Cavaliers in our town and they are both elderly and obese. Luckily neither of them have MVD. One of the owners asked me how I kept mine so slim. At that time Max was still a puppy and on the go all the time and I had worked hard to slim Mindy down. It turns out that his elderly cav got twice as much food a day as Mindy did. It's easy to get too heavy. With Mindy I just didn't adjust her food intake as she got older and less active. You'd think I would have learned my lesson but when Max went for his checkup this winter he had gained weight The vet told me that if he was to get MVD it could be managed if he was slender but it's a death sentence for an obese dog (at that point she only wanted him to lose about a pound - but he'd already lost 2 pounds) He is now back to a healthy weight and Rylie is a stringbean. I'll have to keep an eye on him over the winter as won't be able to run around the yard for hours on end.
    Mindy Tri - Feb/97
    Max - Ruby - Sep/08
    Rylie - B&T - June/09

  4. #4
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    Nov 2008
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    I am just putting a page together relating to obesity in Cavaliers for the Cavalier Matters website.

    I am obsessed with Molly and Dougalls weight to the point we weigh them everyday. (which I know is extreme) When they are carrying less weight they cope so much better with their health problems.

    Tania and The Three Cavaliers!
    Dotty!- A Sweet Little Tri
    Molly - Pretty Tri Dougall - Gorgeous Blenheim

  5. #5
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    Jun 2009
    South Essex
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    Oh Fat cavs is one of my greatest hates- and it makes me so so angry when people look at charlie and say 'oh dont you feed that dog- he is so thin!'

    Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!

    I feel like screaming at people sometimes- uh no your dog is FAT AND DYING!

    there are so many fat cavs around- i dont understand it. With so many health problems I will do everything in my power to have Rubes and Little C live as long as I possibly can and if that means saying no- ill say no!!!


    Ruby - my stunning soul mate who defies the odds every day
    Charlie- my angel at heart and devil at play

  6. #6
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    Aug 2006
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    Fat releases factors of inflammation into the body as well - making conditions like arthritis much worse in addition to the life threatening ones like heart disease. I am always truly peeved by fat pets. People are actually severely injuring their pets by overfeeding them. I have worked at a few vet clinics and *never* heard a vet approach an owner about a fat pet unless it was disgustingly obese. Unfortunately, I don't think this problem is going to get any better soon.

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