Just like humans, pets are susceptible to unhealthy weight gain. This weight gain can quickly leap from slightly overweight to full-on obesity, which can be very dangerous for both cats and dogs. While a couple of extra pounds may not seem like a big deal, a pet’s weight can quickly cause numerous health issues that are a big deal.
Obesity is an epidemic in pets just like it is in humans. Some reports suggest that up to 45 percent of the dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, while more than half of the cats in the country are struggling with the same problem. At this point, more cats are unhealthy than are at a normal weight. These numbers are a staggering example of what can happen when pet owners don’t stay on top of their pet’s weight.
In many cases, excess weight causes serious health complications for both cats and dogs. One major issue that overweight animals battle is joint pain or arthritis. The pressure that excess weight puts on joints can be damaging over time. The pain and inflammation that can occur in joints can be completely debilitating for your cat or dog.
Diabetes is also a concern for animals who are overweight. Diabetes can be hard to treat in obese animals, too. Since there is no cure for diabetes, it is better to try to prevent diabetes by keeping your pet’s weight at a healthy level.
Obese pets may also suffer from respiratory problems. Excess weight puts strain on the heart and lungs, and there comes a point when the lungs can no longer keep up with the demand and your pet will have a harder time breathing.
Being obese can also lead to a compromised immune system, which could open your pet up to a number of potential health problems. In addition to the previously mentioned problems, obese pets can also struggle with liver disease, hypertension, and an increased risk for cancer. Obesity is likely to shave years off of your pet’s life, too.
Helping your pet lose weight is the best thing you can do for him or her. While it may seem downright mean, you need to consult with your veterinarian to come up with an appropriate diet for your pet. A reduced-calorie food that contains only what your pet needs can be beneficial to a weight loss plan.
Exercise is also a good way to help your pet lose weight, but you need to be sure to consult with a vet before you start anything. You may actually cause harm to your pet by working them too hard with all that excess weight. For cats, exercise can be tricky, but taking the time to play with your cat a couple of times a day can go a long way. Dogs generally enjoy exercise a little more than cats do. Start taking your dog on walks or playing a few rounds of fetch every day. If your dog likes to rough house, take the opportunity to play with him or her and keep the activity level up.
If you think your pet is overweight or obese and you live in the Linwood, New Jersey area, call Linwood Pet Hospital at 609-926-5300 to schedule an appointment. A veterinarian at Linwood can help you set up a diet and exercise regimen that will help your pet healthily shed the pounds.