According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were found to be overweight or obese. While you may feel that your pet looks extra cute with their extra pounds, being overweight can actually have significant consequences on their general health.
- Osteoarthritis (degenerative joint disease) – While there are definitely breed and age-related factors that contribute to the development of arthritis, obesity also plays a major role. Increased weight puts increased strain on your pet’s joints, which leads to inflammation and subsequent damage to the cartilage. The result of this is pain and problems with mobility.
- Diabetes – The risk of developing chronic illnesses like diabetes is much higher when your pet is overweight. Although there is treatment available for diabetes, it often requires lifelong diet management as well as daily insulin injections and regular monitoring by your veterinarian. This can be a significant expense and lifestyle change.
- Heart Disease – Similarly to arthritis, increased weight also puts extra strain on your pet’s heart, making it work harder to pump blood throughout the body. When the heart is forced to work harder for a long period of time, this causes damage to the heart (decreased pumping efficiency), which in turn leads to decreased blood flow to other vital organs as well.
In summary, healthy lean body weight is very important for your pet’s general health. Pets that maintain an ideal body weight tend to live longer and have fewer chronic ailments. If you have concerns about your pet’s weight, it is best to discuss these with your veterinarian to develop a weight loss plan tailored to your pet’s specific needs.
If you have any questions, give us a call at 506-388-8880.
Written by: Dr. Ashley Farrell, DVM