A recent study of compiled data from 430,000 cats and 2 million dogs showed an increase in obesity between 2007 and 2011 of 37% in dogs an over 90 % in cats.Why and what can we do?
Interestingly, the prevalence of arthritis also increased by 38% in dogs and 67% in cats. One in five dogs and cats is overweight the report states, according to the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association. The report was based on medical data accumulated from patient records.
I believe as pet guardians have become busier away from home and more sedentary when at home, their pets' frequency and extent of exercise has decreased as well. In addition, it has become more convenient and less expensive to feed dry kibble diets. Dry kibble diets are high starch and high calorie. This is a recipe for obesity. The only thing making it worse is those pets who are allowed to graze on the kibble free-choice!
The best way to prevent obesity or to lose weight is to eat a species-appropriate, prey-concept, meat-based diet. This diet is high in quality protein and moisture and low in carbohydrates. If you have time, this diet can be home-prepared. Proponents of this diet who correctly mimic the percentages of flesh, bones and organs in a prey have been very successful when feeding this diet.
Some grind bone, others feed whole raw meaty bones. This choice is dependent on the size of the pet. Other pet guardians who successfully feed raw diets but simultaneously live busy lives, prefer to feed commercial raw diets. It is important that dog and cat diets contain the correct calcium:phosphorous ratio. Reputable raw diet manufacturers have had their diets analyzed to assure that they are balanced.
These diets have become wildly popular because they work!
In my practice, we NEVER recommend veterinary "prescription" diets for weight management. We have found natural frozen meat diets to be the most effective. Dramatic weight loss can be achieved and healthy muscle is maintained. Even "prescription" diet manufacturers caution that their weight loss formulas should not be fed long term as they are severely restricted in critical nutrients.
Balanced raw diets are particularly effective for sedentary felines who are difficult to talk into adequate exercising.
Remember, diet changes should be made gradually and too rapid weight loss can be detrimental. Cats are prone to hepatic lipidosis or fatty liver disease. Patience and persistance on your part is very important when transitioning, but well worth the effort! You will be pleased with the results. Clients have said,"It's like I got my puppy back again!" or "My cat hasn't climbed up there for years. She is so much more active now that she has lost weight!"