Tag Archives: obesity

The importance of healthy weight in our pets

You may have heard your veterinarian tell you that your pet needs to lose some weight. You may have even briefly tried to reduce your pet’s weight to only find them begging for food at all times of the day and night. So, why does the veterinarian keep harping on this one topic?!
Overweight animals can suffer many of the same complications as overweight humans. The extra pounds put extra pressure on joints which may accelerate or exacerbate arthritis. Extra weight can increase the incidence of breathing problems in our pets. In cats, obesity predisposes them to developing diabetes. Additionally, overweight cats that suddenly stop eating can develop a life threatening liver condition called hepatic lipidosis. Overweight animals also develop decreased mobility which can make scratching a simple itch impossible. Cats can become so obese that they are no longer able to groom themselves and develop painful matted hair throughout their haircoat.
Unfortunately, our society has become so accustomed to seeing overweight animals that we often don’t recognize when our own pets have put on too much weight. Sometimes animals at their ideal weight are labeled as too skinny. The Guinness Book of World Records fortunately stopped reporting the heaviest cat because people were purposefully overfeeding their cats in order to gain entry into the book.
Because of the health issues that are directly related to obesity, we cannot look at an overweight animal and just think it is cute. Most of our animals are only fed what we offer them, therefore controlling their weight should be relatively simple. Your veterinarian is your best source for weight loss advice for your pet. They have studied animal nutrition in school, and their opinion should be valued above that of the groomer or pet store employee. If simply cutting back on food does not result in weight loss, exercise regimes and prescription diets may be needed. If you have a dog that needs to lose weight, walking them on a regular basis can help the pet lose weight and also keep the owner healthy as well. Let’s give our pets the best chance of living a long happy life by refusing to accept extra pounds or obesity as normal!