Exercise • Weight Loss • Conditioning
Obesity in pets, just as in humans, is correlated directly to health problems. Obesity is strongly associated with the development of osteoarthritis in people and likely contributes to the progression of osteoarthritis in dogs. As a pet’s weight increases, so does the amount of load put on their system. Weight loss greatly reduces the risk of many serious health conditions as well as adds to the longevity of your pets quality of life. The recovery time of many pets after orthopedic surgery is greatly lengthened if their body is forced to bear too much weight.
The main components of weight loss management include both exercise and nutrition. Exercise and fitness goals can be met using hydrotherapy (water treadmill), land treadmill programs, and work on Cavaletti rails. Physical therapy equipment such as Physio-balls can be used to help develop core strength as well as improve balance and coordination. In addition to restricting intake of normal diet and eliminating treats, prescription diets are available that can help achieve and maintain ideal body weight. Clinically, the pet’s ribs should be easily palpable, and there should be a “waist” when viewed from above. Once an ideal weight has been achieved a consistent exercise program and diet designed to maintain weight and joint health can be prescribed.