Obesity is becoming more and more common in our animal companions and can have serious consequences for our pets' health and longevity. Today, our Laguna Beach vets discuss the causes, symptoms, and treatment for our oversized pets.
Why does it matter if my pet is a bit cuddly?
We are not here to fat shame your pet. We are concerned about your pets' health and longevity. The problem is that your pet was bred to be a certain weight. What seems like a little extra weight to a human is a massive amount of weight when scaled up to human proportions.
How Our Pets Become Obese
Why are our pets getting extra chunky? The truth is that obesity in pets is most often caused by how pet parents feed and exercise their pets.
You love your pet dearly and may feel that those extra treats are a great way to show it, but all those little treats soon add up and could harm your pet's health. We are also responsible for ensuring our pets get adequate exercise, appropriate to their breed. But we all know that sometimes we just want to skip the walk and cuddle on the sofa instead. Nonetheless, exercise is one of the most loving things you can give your animal, regardless of whether your pet is a cat, dog, rabbit or bird.
Some other factors that can contribute to your pet putting on extra weight include:
- Type of pet - some pets are more likely to eat too much or receive less exercise (try getting your fish on an exercise routine).
- Age - As pets get older they are less active and can put on the pounds easier.
- Sex - Females of many species tend to gain weight easier than their male counterparts.
Serious Health Concerns Linked to Obesity in Pets
Much like people, there are some serious health risks associated with obesity in pets. Carrying excess weight can increase your pet's risk of the following conditions and more.
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory distress
- Joint pain
- Hip Dysplasia
What to Do If Your Pet is Overweight
Sorry to say it but the solution is often the same one as for humans, diet and exercise.
A good place to start is by contacting your vet to book a wellness exam for your pet. Your veterinarian will be able to give your animal a thorough vet checkup to look for any underlying health conditions that could be causing unexplained weight gain. They will also be able to calculate the right number of calories to feed your pet at each meal based on your animal's breed, age and lifestyle, and provide you with valuable information about appropriate exercise for your pet.
The second step comes down to you. It's time to put your vet's advice into action. That means that you, the pet parent, are going to have to be strong and feed your pet only what your vet has suggested. That means no more table scraps, or treats.
This also means that if you have a pet that is not confined to an aquarium, it's time to start your pet's new exercise program. Be sure to follow your vet's advice regarding the amount and type of exercise that is most suitable for your pet. The best thing about increasing your pet's amount of exercise is that it often equates to more quality time spent together. Whether you are taking a dog for a walk, playing on the floor with your cat, or teaching your budgie to come when you call them, you and your pet get to spend some quality together time.
The Bottom Line
The fact of the matter is that helping your pet to maintain a healthy weight is one of the best things you can do to increase their chances of living a long and healthy life.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.