If your furry friend has some junk in the trunk, it may be time to shed some pounds
American humans aren't the only ones fighting the battle of the bulge these days. Cats and dogs are often quite hefty, and you know what that means: overweight + potential health problems = lots of vet bills for you. But how do you get Fluffy to shed some lbs. when all she wants to do is eat and sleep and, well, eat?
"More than 65 percent of my clients are overweight," says Dr. Brian Killough, a veterinarian at Long Animal Hospital (2421 South Blvd., 704-523-2996). Due to overindulgent owners, pets typically reach their ideal weight around age two and then continue to gain unhealthy padding. Pet obesity leads to serious problems like pancreatitis, diabetes, and weak joints. Your vet should be able to feel each of your pet's individual ribs. If this isn't the case, Killough says the pet should slim down. Avoid dry food for cats. "Cats are pure carnivores. They should eat nothing but meat, not biscuits that are high in carbohydrates," he explains.
Dogs fight the fat, too. Killough recommends a light diet from Purina or Science Diet (all created by vet nutritionists), and lots of walking to control weight gain. If that doesn't work, Killough doles out prescription dog food from the same brands. And when all else fails, Killough prescribes Slentrol. The drug deadens hunger centers in the brain, melting away that fatty garbage-can gut your pooch has been carrying around the past few years.
|If you have a Jack Russell Terrier who loves to run (and that would be all Jack Russells), then let him show off his motor in the Terrier Races at the annual Queen's Cup Steeplechase (www.queenscup.org), held the last Saturday of every April in Waxhaw. Got a dachshund? Then let her run off to September's 3rd Annual Wiener Race (www.lknrescue.org) in downtown Mooresville. All proceeds and admission fees ($10) benefit the Lake Norman Animal Rescue.|