When the weather outside is freezing and we’re staying inside to keep warm, it can be easy for not only us, but our pets to put on a little pudge. Fewer walkies and more time spent lounging in front of the heater in winter can leave our furry friends a little more rotund than they should be. Unfortunately, pet obesity is quite common and close to 60% of all dogs and 40% of all cats are classed as overweight or obese. This can lead to some serious health conditions, so it’s important that we help our best friends get back in shape.

Aside from a lack of sufficient exercise, there are three main causes of weight gain in animals. Just like humans, if your pet eats too much or consumes low quality food they are at high risk of weight gain. Most commercial foods list a feeding guide on the packet, which will let you know how much to feed them based on their healthy weight. Medical conditions such as hypothyroidism or cushing’s disease can upset your pet’s metabolism and cause them to pack on the pounds, too. Although inactivity and overeating are both common, if your pet has gained some weight, then it’s time to pay a visit to your vet so that you can make sure they don’t have any underlying health concerns.

The Dangers of Pet Obesity

Pet obesity can result in many dangerous health complications, including:

– Breathing difficulties
– Heat stress and exercise intolerance
– High blood pressure
– Diabetes or insulin resistance
– Liver disease
– Osteoarthritis
– Impaired immune function
– Digestive disorders
– Pancreatitis
– Skin conditions
– Musculoskeletal conditions
– Increased risk of developing cancer
– A shortened lifespan

Treatment and Weight Loss

During a general health assessment, your vet will use a body condition score chart to assist them in determining whether your pet is obese or overweight. This involves considering several aspects of their body and health, including their breed, muscle mass and general build. Once your pet has been diagnosed, your vet will be able to provide you with a treatment plan for their weight loss journey, which will help you get your pet back in shape.

Maintaining a healthy weight and fitness level are important parts of your pet’s general health and quality of life, during all life stages. If you have any concerns about your pet’s weight or want to find out how to help them battle the bulge, please book a visit with your vet.