What should I know about obesity in cats and dogs?
Obesity among our pets is often overlooked. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it affects approximately 50% of the United States pet population today. Using the State of Pet Health Report
, you can see how your state stacks up to others in regards to pet obesity.
Obesity Among American Cats and Dogs Handout Summary
A quick visit to your local Banfield Vet Hospital will help determine if your pet is obese. A pet health expert can give a simple visual and physical examination to check on the following:
- Ribs and spine are hard to feel or count under the pet’s fat.
- Fat deposits on the pet’s hips, base of tail and/or chest.
- Body condition seems overweight, heavy, husky or stout.
- The pets abdomen sags
- It’s difficult to see a waist when viewing the cat or dog from above
- The chest and abdomen seem distended or swollen
What causes pet obesity?
Certain diseases can cause a dog or cat to gain weight. A veterinarian may want to examine your obese pet for possible heart, thyroid or other metabolic disorders. Excessive weight on an otherwise healthy pet can likely be blamed on eating too much and lack of exercise.
Obesity contributes to other common health risks, including:
- Heart disease
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Possibly even some forms of cancer
How can I begin a weight loss plan for my pet?
- Start by documenting your pet’s weight.
You’ll want to keep track of their weight loss, staring with day one.
- Monitor how much your pet eats on a daily basis.
This includes calories from your pet’s normal food, treats, table scraps, and any nutritional supplements. Look for the amount of calories per serving on the food container.
- Track your pet’s daily calorie intake.
Compare your pet’s daily calorie intake to the suggested amount from your Banfield Veterinarian. Then start to reduce the amount your dog or cat takes in each day, to match what your vet recommends.
- Document how much exercise your obese pet gets each day.
Increase the amount of exercise daily to help them lose weight. This is easier to do with a dog than cat. You may need to push a cat to exercise using toys or placing their food dish in inconvenient locations around the house so they must work to reach their meals.
Obesity is easily prevented. Speak with your Banfield veterinarian or visit our nutrition section for more information.
You can also see how your state compares in pet obesity, and other areas, using the State of Pet Health 2013 report and website.