Factors of Dog and Cat Obesity

Overweight and obesity are occurring in epidemic proportions in our pets. According to Banfield's Applied Reserch and Knowledge Team, in the past five years, diagnoses have increased 30% in dogs and a 111% in cats. The conditions are linked to numerous other diseases, including arthritis, diabetes, and heart disease, so maintaining a healthy weight is about more than just keeping a slender waistline – it’s about living a healthier life! This serious condition among pets is often caused by a combination of overfeeding and a lack of exercise, which can lead to a number of major medical issues.

Medical Results of Obesity in Dogs and Cats

Just like in humans, being obese can make your pet vulnerable to many health issues. These can range from internal illnesses, to joint issues.

  • Orthopedic disease
  • Diabetes mellitus,
  • Abnormalities in circulating lipid profiles
  • Cardiorespiratory disease
  • Urinary disorders
  • Reproductive disorders
  • Dermatological diseases 
Keeping your pet at a healthy weight greatly reduces the likelihood they will have to battle these health issues.

Factors Leading to Obesity in Dogs and Cats

While the most obvious factors leading to obesity are diet and lack of exercise, there are other reasons why a dog or cat might become overweight.

Breed – Several dog and cat breeds are predisposed to becoming overweight. Among dogs, those include Labrador Retrievers, Cairn Terriers and the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Cat breeds more likely to become obese are domestic short hair, medium hair, and long hair felines.

Concurrent diseases – If your pet already has a disease, it could be easier for him or her to gain weight. With dogs, those include hypothyroidism, Cushing’s disease, and musculoskeletal diseases like arthritis or joint issues.

Diet and feeding methods – Likely the most obvious factor leading a cat or dog to become overweight is their diet. Pets are more likely to become obese if they are fed human food and scraps from the kitchen. You should also steer clear of high-fat diets, commercial treats, or simply overfeeding them. Speak with your veterinarian about a diet food and follow instructions on how much and how often to feed your dog or cat.

Preventive care and nutrition – Keeping your pet at a healthy weight basically comes down to you. It’s a matter of taking care of your pet the best way possible, through diet and exercise. Keeping your pet active will force you to be active, keeping you healthy, as well.

Intervening to Stop Obesity


As a pet owner, you need to step in and stop obesity. This is done through pet weight loss, using regular exercise and a smart diet.

Diet – When planning a weight-loss diet for your pet, always talk with your veterinarian about the safest ways to feed your dog or cat. There are many different weight control and weight loss diets available. Your veterinarian can work with you to find the diet that will be best for your pet.

Exercise – How you help your pet exercise will look different for a dog or cat. For dogs, exercise routines can include:

  • Leash walking
  • Swimming
  • Playing fetch
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Treadmills

Exercise among cats will be centered on playtime.

  • Special toys keeping the cat active
  • Toys with treats the cat must work for
  • Hiding your cat’s food so they must search

Learn More

If your pet is obese and you need help with a weight-loss plan, contact your local Banfield Pet Hospital to make an appointment with a veterinarian.
 
You can also ask about our Optimum Wellness Plans. Each plan is built around your specific pet, and every plan includes comprehensive physical exams and unlimited office visits.
 
You can learn more on your pet’s weight and ideal diet by reading further in the Preventive Care section, or by checking out these recommended articles.