obese dog on a chair

Obesity in Pets

With the growing number of pets suffering from weight issues, we investigate the importance of keeping your beloved companion animal at its preferred weight.

Obesity is one of the biggest issues affecting our pets and their loving owners. Sadly, many pet owners are completely unaware of the risks posed to their pets by carrying a little extra bulge. Like with humans being overweight can increase many issues and escalate the risk of disease and lack of well-being.

Some pet insurance companies have noted a 600% increase in osteoarthritis and around a 700% increase in cruciate ligament claims that could be a direct result of obesity. So having an overweight pet, can not only entice a lot of health complications and pain for your companion animal, but it can also become very costly to correct the aftereffects of allowing them to become overweight.

An overweight pet is not a happy pet. Understanding the warning signs and seeking advice when you think there is a problem is important. With so many products now on the market that can help with obesity keeping your pet healthy and trim has never been easier.

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How to Spot a Problem

Dog With a Thick Layer of Fat Over the Rib
Image by danbar44 from Pixabay

For a dog – you should always be able to feel your companion animal’s ribs. If they have a thick layer of fat over their ribs, it’s best to seek professional advice as your pet could be overweight. Looking from above your pet’s chest should be larger than its waist.

For a cat – looking from above you should be able to see your cat’s waist area, and again its chest should be bigger than its waist. This can be a little difficult to see if your cat is extra fluffy. The best indication is that their stomach area should not be protruding. 

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What to Do?

Overweight Pet/Dog with Osteoarthritis
Image by LoggaWiggler from Pixabay

When it comes to understanding obesity and understanding the impact that extra weight could be affecting your pet’s quality of life, is a vital step in abolishing obesity. Sadly, particularly for cats, carrying a lot of extra weight can seem humorous, however, the medical implications are far from a funny meme splashed over social media. The facts are clear; an overweight pet has a higher chance of diabetes, osteoarthritis, cardiovascular disease, and cancer. Not to mention that your pet will not be leading their healthiest life, and their life span could be drastically reduced. Which is only setting pet owners up for heartache.

The great news is that fit and active pets also encourage their owners to keep fit and healthy too. So, it’s a win-win when it comes to pet ownership.

Vet Check 

Obese Pet in A Vet Check
Image by Amy_Gillard from Pixabay

If you suspect your pet is obese it’s important to get a good clearance check from your local vet. It’s also good to remember that a pet is never too old to battle the bulge and start a healthier regime. The key is to get the right advice on diet and exercise and slowly allow your pet to adjust to the new healthy lifestyle. As pets age, carrying extra weight is only a burden to their golden years. Your vet will be able to assess the situation and help develop a plan for you to get your pet to their required weight with a plan for exercise and diet.

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Exercise

Labrador Doing Daily Walk and Run
Image by lovechicco on Pixabay

Evaluate how much exercise your pet is given. Interacting with your cat for 5mins a day (age-appropriate – chat with your vet) with a feather or mice on a string can see a huge impact. This is particularly good for indoor cats. For dogs, a daily or twice daily walk or run is perfect, but again this can be breed-specific, certain breeds will require different amounts of exercise. The key with all exercises is to start slowly. It is advised to go from nothing to marathon running in one week this will only cause more problems and could lead to injury.

Diet Check 

A Dog That Won't Stop Eating
Image by Jocke Ekroth from Pixabay

When it comes to a pet’s weight it’s a good idea to get an in-depth look into how much food they are eating, this includes any tidbits and treats. Making a diary can help you evaluate exactly how much your pet is eating each day. Get the whole family on board and get a good clear picture of the types and amounts of food your pet is eating on a day-to-day basis. It’s also important to remember that your pet’s dry, or wet food is a ‘complete’ diet. Meaning it does not need to be added to with extra meat or foods. Also, read the manufacturer’s advice on the package. Many times, pet owners are unsuspectingly overfeeding their pets when they switch foods. 

With the right understanding and research, you can help your pet meet their required weight easily. Allowing them a quality of life and preventing heartache and pain as they age.

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