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Obese pets

How do I recognize overweight?

In an animal of ideal weight you cannot see the ribs, but you can feel them with light pressure.

If you can only feel the ribs by applying more pressure, a layer of fat has already formed.

Very overweight dogs and cats are "round as a ball", no longer have a recognizable waist and can hardly move. Cats get thick "cheeks" and a spongy chin.

What does that mean for the animal?

It loses the joy of running and playing. The animals are less agile and short of breath and become even fatter.

A layer of fat forms around the internal organs, which, as in humans, leads to diabetes or cardiovascular diseases.

Joints and spine also suffer.

What are the causes?

Too much and wrong food as well as lack of exercise. Dogs should be outside for at least two, preferably three, hours a day. Indoor cats also need exercise games every day.

Go to the vet if an animal has gained significant weight: the cause could also be a disease.

How does my pet get slim again?

The only thing that helps here is counting calories - and sticking to it. No matter how sad the animal looks. The vet calculates the required amount. It results from height, weight, age and race.

Neutered dogs should eat fewer calories.

➜ Important: Do not feed extra treats or leftovers from the family table.

Does less food help?

No, because: The body breaks down muscle mass before attacking the fat reserves. That is why it is very important to have enough exercise with the diet.

Strong muscles have an important support function for the skeleton. Weak muscles can cause damage to the musculoskeletal system, among other things.

How often should i feed?

In dogs, the calories are divided between two meals. In smaller quantities and after a walk, the food is easier for dogs to digest.

Cats naturally need small amounts of food throughout the day. Many keepers solve the problem with a daily ration of dry food in a bowl.

However, there is a risk that the cat will take in too little water.

➜ Better: offer moist food three times a day.

What about treats?

You have to add the calories to the feed. For example, 75 grams of dog biscuits (10 pieces) have around 240 calories - depending on the breed, that is often a fifth of the daily requirement!

Instead, replace the rewards with small pieces of carrot.

Are other pets getting too fat too?

Yes! Basically, rabbits, guinea pigs and the like can also get too fat. The same applies here: Too little exercise and too much food are to blame.

Professional advice: Veterinarian Astrid Behr (Federal Association of Practicing Veterinarians)