Sooty is keeping his weight in check by tracking his exercise.
Sooty is keeping his weight in check by tracking his exercise. Candyce Braithwaite

Fat cats and dogs risk health issues

THE obesity epidemic is not just on the rise among humans with a Warwick-based veterinarian reporting a rise amongst cats and dogs in the region as well.

Warwick Town and Country Vet veterinarian Kate Peters said being overweight had the same effect on cats and dogs as it did on humans.

"The consequences include diabetes, cardio diseases, joint disease, high blood pressure, kidney and liver problems, respiratory disease and skin disease," she said.

"It can be caused by genetics, their reproductive status and age. But the main cause is diet and decrease in exercise."

Ms Peters said it was important both cats and dogs did not consume more calories than they burned during a day.

"People feed pets human foods and lots of treats which adds to their calorie count," she said.

"If you give them treats and extra food you need to feed them less."

Ms Peters also suggested separating out their food allocation into breakfast and dinner to stop them from looking for food during the day.

When it came to exercise, Ms Peters said pets needed up to 30 minutes of exercise a day, just like their human counterparts.

"It does depend on what they can handle though."

Walking a cat is a bit more difficult than taking a dog for a walk but Ms Peters said there were plenty of toys on the market to help keep cats fit.

Ms Peters said Warwick Town and Country vets offered free weekly weigh-ins.

"There are medical conditions that can contribute to weight gain so it is important to make sure there are no underlying conditions before owners start exercising their pets."



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