Obesity in Pets

According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), pet obesity is an epidemic. A study conducted by Banfield Hospitals revealed that more than half of adult dogs seen in over 1,000 hospitals were overweight or obese.

Obesity is an accumulation of excess body fat usually caused by being overweight. Dogs are considered to be overweight if they are 10-20% above their ideal body weight and are labeled obese if they are 20% or more overweight.

Why Obesity in Pets is Harmful

Just like in humans, obesity in pets can lead to other chronic health conditions including heart disease, kidney disease, cancer, joint pain and diabetes. These diseases can lead to a shortened life span for your pet—which is a heartbreaking fact.

What Causes Obesity in Pets?

Obesity is a preventable disease in pets. Overfeeding is the most common cause of pet obesity. In addition to pet owners providing too much food, feeding pets “people food” or table scraps can also cause weight gain. Even small bites of table food can cause weight gain. Your dog should never get more than 8-10% of their caloric intake from human food.

Which Pets are More Obese?

Obesity can affect any breed of dog or cat—large or small. However, pugs are the dogs that are most often diagnosed as obese. In addition, more female pets are likely to be obese than males and neutered pets are more at risk. As they age, pets are more likely to become overweight. Obesity increased with age until age seven.

How Can I Tell if My Pet is Obese?

  • You should be able to see and feel your pet (dog or cat’s) ribs without excess fat covering them.
  • What shape is your pet? A round or oval shape indicates too much fat. Your dog’s and cat’s waist should be discernable from above.
  • If your pet’s belly sags or swings, your pet is likely overweight.
  • A pet with low energy is another symptom of obesity.

How Can I Help My Overweight Pet?

First, start by talking to a veterinarian. The vets and staff at Cimarron Animal Hospital can give you guidance for types of food best for your pet and other weight loss tips. Second, make sure your pet is active. Take them on walks, or run around with them in the yard. For cats, add new toys for them to play with or multi-level cat trees for them to jump on.

If you think your pet has an issue with obesity, contact the staff at Cimarron Animal Hospital for guidance and to get your pet back on a healthy track.

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