The Problem of Obesity in Pets
It may come as no surprise that obesity in dogs and cats in the U.S. is on the rise. According to Association for the Prevention of Pet Obesity, 58% of cats and 53% of dogs are either overweight or obese.
Like with humans, there can be multiple factors that lead to obesity such as certain medical conditions, types of medications, and the like. But as with humans, more often that not, the root cause of excess weight is the ratio of calories consumed to the amount of energy expended. There is even a growing body of evidence that suggests that there is a direct correlation between obese pet owners and their pets.
Obesity is common in pets of all ages, but more often occurs in those that are between the ages of 5 and 10. Neutered/spayed and indoor pets also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.
The consequences of pets carrying excess weight are vast and can also shorten the life span of your pet. Obese pets are susceptible to a host of health issues including diabetes, joint & bone problems, heart disease, high blood pressure, decreased liver function, increased risk of cancer, compromised immune system, digestive disorders, and skin & coat problems.
Your veterinarian plays an important role in helping your pet maintain a health weight. Your veterinarian can provide guidance about the right diet for your pet, including types of food, appropriate amounts, and frequency of feedings. Exercise should also be discussed with your veterinarian.
For pets that are currently overweight, it is important to consult with your veterinarian about the proper way to begin a weight loss and weight management plan.