Check-Up: Managing obesity in pets

January 20, 2020

Dear Readers,

Gloria is concerned about her pet dog. Recently, she went on a diet because her doctor told her that she was hypertensive and losing some of the weight she carries could help.

Now her pet’s vet says that the dog that is now six-year-old is overweight and is showing signs of arthritis. He mentioned that the situation where both pet owner and pet are both obese is a common one that needed to be treated in a similar fashion. This includes diet and exercise, and stop giving the dog (and herself) snacks!

Gloria says she’s a bit depressed as her dog is one of her best friends. He greets her at the gate every day when she comes home from work! And as she lives alone, her dog is her company.

“Where do I begin? How do I get a dog that is used to getting treats and watching TV with me lose weight? How do I lose weight? We’re both couch potatoes!”


To many Jamaicans, a dog is a ‘dawg’ that happens to live in the yard space and barks to tell you when strangers are approaching. But there are thousands of Jamaicans who now hold their pets, especially their dogs, very dear to them and esteem them greatly, like Gloria does! And this obesity problem existing between owners and their dogs and cats is very real!

Obesity will result in complications to both pet owner and pet, which can ultimately limit the quality of life for both of them. Just as it is with human beings, obesity in pets is currently of epidemic proportions.

Obesity in animals can result in complications in almost every part of their body, causing diabetes and osteoarthritis, and significantly shortening their lifespan. Overweight pets, like their overweight human counterparts, find it more difficult to move around and feel real joint pains, which inhibits movement even more.

Humans often show their pets love through food. It is the pet owner who need to make the necessary changes. Many pet owners treat their pets like family members and often there is a real bond between them. However, the pet owner has to stop expressing love through food and develop a healthier relationship with their pets.

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