Overweight Pets Might Look Cute But It Is Unhealthy!
26 September, 2011

My cat, Sammy, was getting really chunky. I wasn’t that worried about him until I went to my veterinarian who told me I should be worried. He informed me that it is very unhealthy for pets to be overweight. Ironically, I always worry about my weight; now, it was time to look after my cat. I put him on a high fiber food and watched his intake. And, now, he is slim and happy.

However, as I look around and meet other dogs, I am acutely aware that there are way too many overweight pets. Some have a layer of fur/fat that covers their ribs while others may have a belly. Your pets might start out slim but can gain weight during their adult life or even over the course of a season.

Maybe I’m not so cute anymore!

The problem with overweight or obese pets is that they can face a number of health problems which could lead to medication, special food, and/or frequent vet visits. Obesity in pets is defined as an excess of body fat which may impair their health and body functions. Overweight pets are generally ten to twenty percent over the ideal weight for your pet while obese pets are more than twenty percent above their ideal body weight.

Obese pets have a greater chance of having problems like arthritis and back problems, as well as a weaker immune system. They may also have a greater chance of developing diabetes, liver disease, urinary tract problems, skin problems, and greater sensitivity to hot weather due to their excess weight. Many pets that are overweight also have a shorter life span which can be devastating especially since it could have been avoided by simply putting your pet on a diet.

In order to figure out if your pet is overweight or obese, you need to do more than just weigh him or her. You need to consider your pet’s body build and condition according to their breed. I’ve had dogs that were petite and weighed only seven pounds and others that were healthy at forty pounds. The body condition of your pet takes into consideration the weight, height, and proportions of body muscle and fat. Your vet can help you determine what would be an ideal weight for your pet. Once you know what your pet’s weight should be, you can monitor their food intake and increase exercise to help him or her slim down.

If your pet tends to get a lot of treats, try cutting those down or buy higher quality ones that contain less fat but more minerals and vitamins that are good for them (or high fiber). Take longer walks in the evenings with your dog and see if you can get your cat to start chasing that catnip around the house again. A thinner pet can mean a healthier, longer living pet which in the end is all that matters!

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