Part of comprehensive pet care involves helping your animal maintain a healthy weight. Yet, weight gain can creep up over time, and it’s not always easy for owners to tell when their animal has become overweight or obese. Because obesity carries many of the same health risks in pets as it does for humans, it’s important to watch for its signs in dogs and cats, too.
A Guide to Obesity in Cats & Dogs
What Qualifies as Obese in Cats & Dogs?
Because cats and dogs of different breeds all have varying healthy weight ranges, the body composition score is used to measure a healthy weight. This scale of 1-9 measures factors such as fat deposits near the ribs. In a healthy pet, the ribs are palpable without excess fat, the abdomen is tucked up, and the waist is easily defined. In an obese pet, the stomach sags, there is no discernible waist, and fat deposits on the neck and limbs are evident.
How Does Obesity Develop?
Several factors contribute to obesity in pets, including lack of exercise and feeding them extra treats and table scraps. Some pet care specialists also suspect early neutering and spaying, while important for controlling overpopulation, may also contribute to obesity. In general, pets who are spayed or neutered at a younger age may need less food.
What Are the Associated Health Risks?
Like humans, obesity in pets is linked to serious disease, including diabetes, kidney disease, and cancer. It is also more likely to cause debilitating arthritis and high blood pressure. Obese and overweight dogs and cats may also struggle to groom themselves.
How Can You Keep Your Pet at a Healthy Weight?
Your pet care specialist can recommend the right type of food and portioning for your pet’s unique needs. Additionally, dogs should get at least 30 minutes of activity each day, such as walking or playing fetch, while cats should have short, 5-minute bursts of play time. Avoid feeding your animal table scraps, and if your vet recommends a weight loss plan, follow it carefully to help your pet achieve gradual but sustainable weight loss.
If you’re concerned about your dog or cat’s weight, the pet care experts from Mililani Town Center Pet Clinic can help. This center has been in business for over 29 years, and its staff cares for animals like they’re family. They offer a broad range of preventive care services, along with dietary supplements and food, to help your pet enjoy a healthy life. Browse through their services online or call (808) 625-6744 to schedule an appointment.