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Dr Laura Morland
Dr. Laura Morland graduated from Kansas State University in 1971 with a doctorate in veterinary medicine. Dr. Morland is very involved in her community. She has four children and two grandchildren. In her spare time she enjoys raising Yorkies, Cairns and Maltese, and being a grandma. Dr. Morland may be reached at 620-724-8054 or visit www.girardanimalhospital.com.
Animals, Reptiles & Insects
2012-11-09 08:25:26
How can I prevent my pets from gaining to much weight?
A- Obesity is becoming an epidemic in our companion animals. Studies have found that the overall prevalence of overweight and obese dogs is between 24% and 30% and prevalence of obese cats between 25% and 35%. This is attributed to 3% the pet's predisposition and 97% the owner's fault by excessive feeding, too many treat rewards and a decrease in physical activity. As few as two lbs above a cat's ideal weight and five lbs in a dog can put them at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. These may include Type 2 diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer. Further, overweight and obese pets tend to live shorter lives, and interact less with their families. So what can we do about this emerging epidemic? The first place to start is obviously nutrition and that can be difficult because of the many factors such as expense, availability, quality and just how spoiled our companions have become. Counting calories is very important for maintaining an ideal weight. The average 10 lb animal only needs approximately 200 calories in a day. That includes treats!! Unfortunately excessive treats interfere with appetite and dietary balance and often lead to obesity. Treats are such an important part of the human-animal bond but if they are causing obesity you need to substitute lower calorie foods such as string beans, baby carrots, celery, melon, apples and other fruits and vegetables. Be sure and not give the dangerous items like onions, grapes, raisins and any food containing the artificial sweetener xylitol. Physical activity is just as important as nutrition and increasing it will benefit both the human and animal companions. Walking for weight loss means walking briskly for the first leg of your walk and then you can "smell the roses" on your way home. In other words no lolly-gagging until you both have had a bit of good exercise. Dogs will eventually respond to brisk walking. However cats are a different critter. You will have to be creative to encourage exercise. One simple tip is playing "Find the Food"--which means moving the food bowl so the cat has to move around. You can use feather toys, flashlights, paper bags or balls, anything that your cat finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your cat for ten minutes twice a day. Experiment and understand that what is exciting today may be boring tomorrow.
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