Does obesity cause the same problems for a pet as it does for a person?
Obesity is a major health problem for pets that can result in liver, heart, and gastrointestinal disease or even diabetes. It can also complicate orthopedic problems like arthritis.
What is the major cause of obesity in pets?
Just like the rest of us, too much food and too little exercise. If more calories are being consumed than calories are being expended, fat will form. And, just like in people, young, active pets have fewer problems. But with age comes a sedentary life style and weight gain.
I’ve always heard that spaying or neutering a pet will make them get fat?
This is a common misconception. Spaying and neutering may create a calmer pet. If your pet is less active, but continues to eat the same amount of food, it will get fat. It is the inactivity that causes the weight gain, not the surgery.
What should pet owners do to prevent obesity in their pet?
- Feed your pet according to his or her life stage. For example, don’t continue to feed puppy/kitten food to an adult animal. Older pets need less fat, less calories, and more fiber.
- Do not overdo treats and avoid table scraps all together. The extra food may make you feel better, but you are hurting your pet!
- Keep exercise as regular and consistent possible
- If your pet is obese, check for an underlying medical condition. For instance, low thyroid levels can cause unwanted weight gain in dogs.
What if my pet is already obese?
- Make a list of ALL foods your pet receives: the regular diet, treats, human foods, etc.
- Cut out all but the regular diet and a limited number of appropriate treats.
- Discuss with your veterinarian an appropriate diet and make a change if necessary. Some special diets are not only reduced in fat and calories, but actually encourage weight loss.
- Make sure that appropriate exercise is offered on a regular basis.
- Reweigh your pet monthly to assess your progress (or lack thereof) and make adjustments as needed.
We have a great deal on weight-loss diets right now. Give us a call and we can get your pet back to a healthy weight.