Plate filled with measuring tapes in front of a dogStout, meaty, heavyset, big-boned, chubby, pudgy… However you describe pets with a few extra pounds, what you cannot call them is “healthy”. A primary cause of diabetes and high blood pressure, pet obesity is on the rise.

With more than half of all cats and dogs considered overweight or obese, is it time for your pet to receive a weight management makeover? Your team at Animal Internal Medicine and Specialty Services has some helpful tools to get your furry friend back on track.

Look Closely

It’s not unusual for a pet owner to allow some weight gain, but if it’s not addressed early on the problem can be harder to tackle. This is especially true when a pet has developed health issues in relation to weight gain. Some pet owners are surprised by the fact that a beloved pet is overweight, which suggests that it’s difficult or confusing to objectively determine unhealthy weight.

It may seem overly simple, but the best way to combat weight gain is to restrict calories. Obviously, increasing physical activity is also helpful, but it can be a challenge for some overweight senior pets to get moving.

Prevention is the Key

Aside from caloric restriction and increased physical exercise, it’s a good idea to:

  • Keep up regular wellness exams
  • Maintain the recommended portion controls set by your veterinarian
  • Learn about body condition scoring to see how your pet measures up
  • Set aside time every day for play, walks, and other forms of physical exertion

The Problem with Pet Obesity

A pudgy pet faces decreased mobility, but that’s not all. Pet obesity contributes to:

  • Shortened life span
  • Irreversible diseases, such as diabetes, kidney disease, liver disease, chronic pancreatitis, hyperthyroidism, and heart disease
  • Strained cardiovascular system
  • Compromised immunity and a reduced ability to fight infection
  • Arthritis and degenerative joint disease
  • Injury risk
  • Skin or coat problems resulting from inability to self-groom

Trust us, none of the above are problems you want to befall your precious pet. Prevention and a realistic, strategic weight management plan are your best solutions to keeping your pet healthy.

Where to Start

Before you initiate your own response to your pet’s weight loss, we strongly recommend consulting your veterinarian. Only he or she can properly assess your pet’s current physical state, counsel you on nutritional needs, recommend exercise goals, and help you in monitoring your pet’s weight changes.

Pet obesity is a serious threat to the pets we know and love, but it doesn’t have to keep your pet from leading a long, healthy life. If you ever have any questions on how to support your pet’s wellness, our team members are always happy to help.