Is Your Pet Obese?

Did you know that October 7th is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? Given the option, many of our furry friends would probably insist that this means they should get extra treats, but that isn’t exactly the case. Chubby dogs and cats may look cute, but, unfortunately, they have elevated risks of developing some very serious health issues. Read on as an Aurora, CO veterinarian discusses obesity in pets.

Determining If Your Pet Is Obese

Sometimes, it’s easy to tell when a pet is getting, well, pudgy. At other times, it isn’t quite so obvious. Here’s a quick test: try to feel your furry pal’s ribs. If you can’t feel them at all, there’s a good chance that you have a four-legged butterball on your hands. If you can just feel them beneath a layer of skin and muscle, your pet may be at or near their ideal weight. And if your pet’s ribs are very pronounced, your furball could be underweight. Ask your vet for specific advice.

Dangers of Obesity

Those extra pounds carry some very serious health problems for pets, including heart disease, diabetes, respiratory issues, liver and/or kidney trouble, certain cancers, and skin problems. Obese pets also have higher risks of having complications after surgery or anesthesia, and often have trouble reproducing. Obesity can also contribute to or exacerbate painful bone and joint problems, such as arthritis, and can even shorten your beloved pet’s lifespan. Your animal companion will be much healthier at or near their ideal weight!

Causes of Obesity

Although age and genetics can both contribute to obesity in animals, diet and exercise play the biggest roles in determining your pet’s weight. Feed your furry buddy a good, nutritious diet, but don’t go overboard with fatty treats. Fido’s begging ability deserves a bit of attention here: many dogs have their owners completely wrapped around their paws! If you absolutely can’t resist that soulful stare, give your pooch a carrot or a string bean instead of a meatball. Portion control is also very important. Overfeeding your pet by just ten calories a day can cause your four-legged pal to pack on extra pounds. Follow your vet’s recommendations for your furball’s diet and exercise needs.

Do you know or suspect your pet is obese? Please contact us with any questions about your pet’s diet. As your Aurora, CO veterinary clinic, we’re here to help!

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