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October 12th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day. This is one problem that definitely could use some attention. In fact, recent studies have shown that well over half of our furry pals are overweight or obese. That’s a lot of chubby pets … and a lot of potential health issues. A Huntersville, NC vet discusses pet obesity below.
Pets that are overweight or obese are at risk of developing many different health issues. Some of these include heart disease, diabetes, liver and kidney issues, respiratory trouble, skin problems, and even certain cancers. Being overweight also puts a lot of strain on your furry friend’s bones and joints, and can contribute to or exacerbate bone/joint problems, such as arthritis. There’s also a bit of a downward spiral: the bigger Fluffy and Fido get, the harder it becomes for them to stay active.
Your pet’s diet and their activity regimen (or lack thereof) are the two biggest factors that determine their weight. Portion control is definitely part of the issue here. In fact, even overfeeding your four-legged buddy by a tiny amount each day can cause them to pack on extra weight. Pay attention to serving sizes!
As far as exercise goes, most dogs need at least a daily walk. However, some pups need more than that, so ask your vet for specific advice. You can keep Fluffy active by playing with her and offering her lots of toys and things to climb and explore. (Some kitties also enjoy walks, though this is definitely not a unanimous opinion among our feline overlords.)
Diet and exercise aren’t the only culprits. Pets tend to become heavier as they age, as their metabolism and energy levels decrease. Plus, certain breeds are more prone to packing on pounds than others. Weight gain can also be caused by health issues. If you aren’t sure why your furry friend is getting a bit chonky, contact your vet.
Pets need to trim down slowly in order to lose weight safely. Ask your vet for specific guidance, including tips on serving sizes and food brands. Keep in mind that you—not your four-legged friend—are in control of your pet’s diet. Also, be prepared to steel yourself. Fido’s soulful stare and Fluffy’s plaintive meows aren’t very easy to resist!
As your Huntersville, NC animal clinic, we’re here to help. Please contact us anytime!