Washington, Feb 22: Increased calorie intake, decreased physical activity and genetic predisposition are the main factors for obesity in humans -- and pets as well. Like overweight humans, obese animals also face several health complications. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, obesity in dogs had gone up to 40 per cent and weight loss programmes were required to keep a tab on the extra pounds.
According to the study, breeds like Labrador retrievers, beagles, and cocker spaniels were more like to carry some extra weight. Dogs and cats that are overweight suffer from decreased heat tolerance, stamina and immunity, increased dermatological conditions and multiple musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems. They may also be more likely to develop diabetes mellitus. Veterinarians were the best resource to assist clients in designing a safe and effective weight reduction programme, the study revealed.
A restricted-calorie diet with a carefully monitored intake and not allowing for free-choice consumption by the pet should be implemented, along with initiating an exercise regiment. There are also endocrine diseases that are associated with obesity that must also be considered and ruled out, before the pet undergoes weight reduction, said lead researcher Craig Thatcher.
The plan should be such that the owner is willing to comply with and one the animal can comfortably perform.