It never happens overnight, but many pet owners are shocked when they discover their pet is obese. Indeed, overfeeding a pet and reducing exercise results in pet obesity, and those extra pounds add up over time. Knowing your pet’s ideal weight is a great place to start, but the added components of balanced nutrition and exercise are critical for long term health and wellness.
Clear and Present Danger
Over half of all domestic cats and dogs are considered obese, a condition known to decrease lifespan. Related to other health problems, such as diabetes and high blood pressure, pet obesity is commonly left untreated. Weight gain is also responsible for:
- Compromised immunity that results in the inability to fight off infection
- Increased potential for arthritis, degenerative joint disease, and injury
- Hormonal imbalances that affect the liver, kidneys, and pancreas
- Dermatological problems that result from being too large to properly self-groom
One of the best ways to counter weight gain is to keep routine wellness exams. Weight is customarily recorded and compared to previous visits, and if there’s a difference (subtle or not), it can be addressed right away. Putting off exams and neglecting weight changes can easily result in weight gain and diminished lifespan. Nutritional counseling and other early intervention measures can pave the way for successful weight loss. Of course, many senior pets are also overweight or obese, a result of diminished flexibility and/or mobility. These pets can have difficulty when it comes to increased exercise, but movement is actually supportive of achy, stiff joints and muscles. If you have any questions about your pet’s ideal weight, activity level, and diet, we’re happy to help. Please give us a call.
Prevent Pet Obesity
Weight gain can be strategically reversed, but prevention is always the best medicine. Once your pet is on a schedule for routine wellness visits, you can begin practicing the following tips for weight management:
- Adhere to strict portion guidelines.
- Keep meals at the same time(s) each day.
- Refer to the AAHA’s Body Conditions Scoring Systems.
- Stick to scheduled exercise routines.
- Be patient and don’t give up!
A Long, Healthy Life
A few extra pounds on a person isn’t necessarily life-threatening, but it can be on a pet! To be sure, pet obesity is a real threat to your pet’s overall health, longevity, and quality of life. The good news is that you can rely on our team members at PPEAH to guide your pet toward optimal health. Together, we can support your pet’s wellness with vigilance, experience, and knowledge.