Have you noticed your cat or dog has recently gained some extra weight? Maybe they seem to be more sluggish, with less energy and movement throughout the day.
Often as pets get older they can start carrying more weight, either from lack of exercise, boredom or simply getting into bad eating habits. While it may not seem as serious as other health problems for pets, being overweight can significantly impact the health and wellbeing of your cat or dog’s life.
With a large percentage of cats and dogs presenting with obesity, it’s considered one of the most common pet problems addressed by veterinarians. Even young puppies and kittens can quickly become overweight if their diets are not being managed correctly. As a pet owner, it’s very important to resist over-feeding your furry friend!
Read on for more information about weight problems in pets, how to recognise the signs of obesity, and how you can introduce dietary restrictions to your pet to put them back on the path to good health.
The Health Risks of Obesity for Cats and Dogs
To be considered ‘obese’ an animal’s weight must be more than 15% above the ideal figure.
If your dog or cat is overweight, their life will be impacted in a number of ways. Cats and dogs presenting with obesity are more likely to be:
- Less active
- More prone to joint and mobility problems
- At higher risk of heart, liver and bladder conditions
- More prone to developing skin problems
- More at risk of infection
- At greater risk during surgery and anaesthesia
- More prone to developing diabetes and arthritis
- More bored, and disinterested in exercise and play
- At risk of living a shorter life
Think carefully about your pet’s eating habits, and then make the necessary changes to ensure your pet lives a long, healthy, fulfilled life.
Causes of Obesity in Cats and Dogs
Just like humans, some factors that cause weight gain are out of your pet’s control, such as breed, gender, age and genetics. Cats, in general, are more likely to have weight problems than dogs.
However, other causes of obesity, such as over-feeding, diet and lack of exercise, are able to be responsibly controlled by pet owners. Essentially, if your pet is consuming more calories than they are burning off, the calories will be stored as body fat.
Keeping Your Pet’s Weight in Check
Restricting calories through dietary restrictions is the best way to manage obesity in pets.
However, you need to make sure your pet is still receiving the right amount of vitamins, minerals, proteins and fats to stay healthy and strong.
Your vet will be able to recommend a high-quality veterinarian-approved pet food that will deliver all the essential nutrients your pet needs, while safely restricting the calories consumed. In a relatively short time, your pet will have renewed energy, improved sleep and a better quality of life overall.
If you’re worried your cat or dog may be suffering from obesity, or would like help to start managing their weight, talk to us.
Book an appointment to talk to the team at Normanby Road Vet Clinic about your pet’s dietary intake and weight management. Annual check-ups are also a great way to keep your pet’s weight monitored. Give us a call on (09) 638 8445 or use our online contact form to get in touch with the friendly team at Normanby Road Vet Clinic.
If you are thinking of going away, find out more about our Catmandu Cattery in Whenuapai– your cat’s home away from home.