Pet obesity is one of the most common pet diseases out there today. It is estimated that upwards of 63% of house cats and 59% of dogs are overweight/obese. Obesity in our pets stems from a number of different factors including breed, age, choice of diet and exercise regimen. Obesity can have severe health consequences. Obese pets are at an increased risk for diabetes, joint pain, and disease, heart damage, liver damage and changes in their kidneys and more. In this series, we will discuss how to determine if your pet is carrying a few extra pounds, how damaging those pounds can be and how to help your pet be healthier!
Pets tend to gain more weight than they should for a combination of reasons that relate to both your pet and their environment. Breed, age and whether your pet is spayed/neutered can predispose a pet to become overweight. Some breeds require fewer calories to stay healthy than others. Middle-aged to older pets do tend to gain weight with time due to a change in their metabolism, but also older joints can lead to less movement and more weight gain. Neutered or spayed pets have a reduction of hormones and in turn, need fewer calories to stay healthy.
Although genetics and aging play a big part in pet obesity, your pet’s diet and exercise regimen are the strongest determining factors for your pet’s healthy weight. Make sure to talk with your veterinarian for their recommendations on diet choice, feeding plan and a healthy exercise regimen for your pet. Different diets work better for different pets and feeding them properly is critical. Table scraps and human foods are a common factor in pets becoming overweight and some human foods can be extremely detrimental to your pet’s safety.
Tune in next week for a discussion on how extra weight can affect your pet’s long-term health!