Pet Obesity: Causes, Consequences, and Prevention

If your pet is looking a little wider to you than normal and has a hard time getting around, it may be obese. Obesity hurts an animal’s health and quality of life. Animal health experts believe pet obesity is a serious welfare problem for pets that can be disabling and cause suffering. It can affect the pet’s ability to perform normal activities, such as exercise or walking up stairs in your house. Learn more about pet obesity, its causes, consequences, and how to prevent it. 


Obesity in Pets – The Causes


Obesity is a challenging problem that can affect all types of animals. The main cause is overeating and failing to get enough exercise, though various health conditions can also cause it. The problem has continued to increase in recent years. 

A pet is deemed overweight when they are 30% over ideal weight. The “ideal weight” depends on the pet’s breed and body type, which leads to subjectivity of the definition. Therefore, it’s best to discuss your pets’ weight history with your veterinarian. Pet obesity is usually a controllable medical condition, as there are things you can do to protect your pet’s health and well-being. Do not equate love to feeding your pet. Offering too many snacks and scraps from the table is not helpful.


Consequences of Pet Obesity 


Obesity can have severe consequences on a pet’s life. It can increase the risk of developing illnesses and worsen the severity of existing health issues. It can reduce the quality and length of a pet’s life. Obesity can increase the risk of developing health conditions, including:


  • Heart disease

  • Diabetes

  • High blood pressure

  • Respiratory distress

  • Cancers


Risk Factors for Obesity


Several factors can increase the risk of a pet developing obesity. Certain animal breeds have a higher likelihood of being obese than others. As pets age, they are less active and more likely to develop obesity. 

Obesity is more common among female than male pets, often due to female hormones. Neutered dogs have a higher risk of obesity.


Benefits of Healthy Weight in Pets


Studies show that excess fat is associated with severe health complications in pets. There are several benefits of maintaining a healthy weight. They include:


  • Reducing the risk of severe health conditions

  • Improving the pet’s quality of life

  • A longer life expectancy

  • Reduced cost of pet medical care


Preventing Pet Obesity 


There are things you can do to help your pet maintain a healthy weight. Ensure your pet consumes a healthy diet each day and gets adequate exercise. A healthy lifestyle that balances calories consumed and those used is essential. 

Increasing your pet’s activity levels will help burn extra calories. The ideal diet will vary with the pet’s age, breed, health condition, and other factors. Talk to your vet about the best calorie intake for your pet.  

There are ways to find out if your pet is overweight. You should be able to see and feel the animal’s ribs, and the waist should be visible from above. When viewed from the side, the dog’s belly should appear tucked up. If you suspect your pet may be overweight, consult your vet. The vet can recommend a weight reduction plan if your pet is overweight. 


For more information on pet obesity, contact True Animal Vet at our office in The Woodlands, Texas. Call (281) 867-5968 or text (281) 916-3282 to book an appointment today.

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