According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. That is a staggering statistic. October 10th was National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, and in light of that, East Valley Animal Hospital (a Gilbert pet hospital) would like to discuss some of the risks of overfeeding and under-exercising your furry companions. We’re absolutely positive you want your pet living their happiest and healthiest life!
How Did We Get Here?
Believe it or not, animals, like humans, have a natural biological instinct for how much they need to eat and when it’s time to stop eating. But this mechanism can easily be turned off if your pet gets used to overfeeding or snacking. After all, when that adorable face is staring up at you and begging for yet another treat or for more food at mealtime, it’s hard to say a firm “No” to such cuteness!
What are the Potential Consequences of Pet Obesity?
When your pet puts on a few extra pounds it can seem insignificant, and they might even appear a little more adorable with their plump frame. But if the habit continues, you may have a larger problem on your hands. Here is what PetMD says about the sobering reality of what your pet might suffer if you allow his/her weight to increase beyond healthy levels.
- Exercise intolerance – decreased stamina
- Respiratory compromise (difficulty breathing)
- Heat intolerance
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Diabetes or insulin resistance
- Liver disease or dysfunction
- Lowered immune system function
- Increased risk of developing malignant tumors (cancer)
If Your Pet is Overweight, There is Hope!
At East Valley Animal Hospital, we believe preventative care is the best possible form of care. But if your pet is overweight the good news is, if caught early enough, many of the effects of pet obesity can be reversed through proper education, sufficient exercise, and implementation of a healthy weight management program. If you’re not sure of your pet’s ideal weight range or necessary caloric intake, we’re your local Gilbert pet hospital—contact us and schedule a visit for your pup or feline today!
Images used under creative commons license – commercial use (10/14/2018) (pixabay)