Humans aren’t the only ones who face serious health risks when they're overweight. Dogs and cats are also vulnerable to all kinds of conditions when they’re carrying around even a few extra pounds. If you think your pets are overweight, a veterinarian can evaluate their health and help you devise a safe weight loss program. In the meantime, here’s what all caring pet owners should know about obesity and how it can affect their furry friends.
Identifying Obesity in Pets
If your pets are only slightly overweight, it may not necessarily be visibly apparent. In such a scenario, the only way to tell if they could stand to lose a few pounds is by weighing them and then referring to the appropriate weight range for their breed, age, and height.
If, on the other hand, your pets are obese, you should be able to tell just by looking at them. In general, dogs and cats are obese when their ribs are no longer visible and they have fat deposits along their torso, thereby eliminating any sign of a natural waist. Thankfully, there are dozens of charts that pet parents can use to tell if their furry friends are overeating. Just make sure you review one touted by a reputable source, like the American Kennel Club.
Preventing Obesity in Pets
Veterinarians encourage pet owners to take action if their dog or cat is obese because carrying around extra weight poses various risks. For example, pets who are obese are more likely to develop respiratory problems, diabetes, liver disease, and even cancer.
Fortunately, combatting obesity in pets is fairly straightforward because animals become overweight in much the same way that people do: by eating too much and exercising too little. Certain health conditions, like thyroid issues, can also contribute to obesity. At the end of the day, the most effective way to prevent obesity in pets is by feeding them a balanced diet, ensuring they get plenty of physical activity, and managing any chronic illnesses.
If you think one of your pets might be overweight, head to Rolling Hills Veterinary Hospital. With two state-of-the-art facilities in Columbia, MO, they can provide comprehensive care for all your furry friends. Their veterinarians prioritize preventive care, and they're happy to teach pet parents how to ensure their dogs and cats thrive. A full-service practice, they offer everything from pet boarding to surgery. Visit their website to find the office nearest you and then give them a call to make an appointment with one of their friendly veterinarians.