At PetTrax, we are focused on helping pet owners keep their pets healthy through proper nutrition, portion/calorie control, and exercise. Pet obesity is, by far, the biggest health issue facing our loved cats and dogs. Overweight and obese pets are much more likely to contract a chronic disease than their healthy weight counterparts.
Causes of Pet Obesity
Just like humans, the cause of obesity in pets is that we’re feeding our furry friends too much. Additionally, we’re not paying attention to the nutritional content of that food. All pets are unique and should be fed a diet that satisfies their specific needs. Many foods are high in ‘fillers’ that don’t provide much of the necessary nutrients to keep cats and dogs healthy. Always check with your veterinarian for the proper diet for your pet including the daily calorie allowance.
While diet is the number one factor to keeping pets from becoming overweight, regular exercise is another important factor. Cats and dogs need to be on the move to not only burn calories, but also to keep from becoming arthritic and stiff. Everything that you could apply to yourself for keeping fit and healthy should also be applied to your pets.
Health Risks Associated with Pet Obesity
There are many health risks associated with pet obesity. Some of the more common are:
- Diabetes – obesity causes an increase in the secretion of insulin. When requirements for insulin exceed the ability of the body to produce insulin, diabetes develops.
- Arthritis – obese pets are more likely to develop serious joint complications. Joints, bones, and ligaments all work together to provide pets with smooth and efficient movement. Carrying extra weight can compromise this system and cause arthritis.
- Heart Disease – obese pets tend to have higher blood pressure (known as hypertension). This can lead to congestive heart failure.
- Liver Disease – when a pet is obese, fat builds up in the liver. This condition can lead to decreased liver function.
- Cancer Risk – the link between pet obesity and cancer is unknown, however, studies have confirmed that obesity pets contract cancer at a higher rate than normal weight pets.
Quality of Life
We all want our pets to be happy and healthy. Allowing our dogs and cats to become overweight reduces that quality of both our pets’ lives and our lives. Overweight pets develop a plethora of problems and typically die at a much younger age than they should. Studies have shown that over 54% of all cats and dogs are overweight and obese. This is costing us both financially and emotionally.
So, don’t give in when your pet is begging for extra food. Work with your veterinarian to create a diet that is high in nutrition, calorie appropriate, and using portion control. You and your loved furry friends will live much richer lives.