Pets come in all shapes and sizes. From pudgy to lanky, we love our furry friends no matter what they look like. To show their affection, many pet owners enjoy showering their cats and dogs with treats and table scraps. We get it: food is love. Unfortunately, this form of appreciation can have a dangerous effect on your cherished pet.
If you’re thinking, “My pet is a little plump, so what?”, read on to learn more about the consequences of extra pounds, and what you can do to help your pet live a longer, healthier life.
Joint Strain and Pain
Carrying around extra weight takes a toll on an animal’s joints. Over time, the likelihood of joint and bone damage increases for hefty pets. Many become prematurely arthritic and have a hard time getting around the house or up and down stairs.
Heart Disease, Difficulty Breathing, and Organ Damage
As with humans, excess weight for pets can lead to elevated blood pressure, which could lead to heart failure. This is because your pet’s heart has to work harder to push blood through their body and to the excess tissue.
Just as the extra weight puts a strain on a pet’s cardiovascular muscles, it also makes it harder to breathe. In fact, when a pet’s body weight becomes too high, all of their organs struggle to keep up, including the liver.
Pet diabetes is one of the most harmful and dangerous complications of extra weight. As your pet gains pounds, their body must produce more blood glucose and insulin. Eventually, the pancreas won’t be able to keep up with the demand and will ultimately burn out. Uncontrolled diabetes can lead to cataracts, urinary tract infections, seizures, enlarged liver, and kidney failure.
Quality of Life
Obese pets don’t just suffer physically. Overweight dogs and cats aren’t able to enjoy all the fun activities they once loved, like trips to the local trail or chasing a cat teaser. Their inability to breathe makes them uncomfortable and quickly tired.
And, simply, pets with extra weight tend to not live as long. Shaving off extra pounds can add years to your pet’s life.
How Chubby Is Too Chubby?
Weight gain doesn’t happen overnight. If it did, it would be much easier for pet owners to recognize. The best way to find out if your pet is too heavy is to bring them in for a checkup. We’ll assess your pet’s overall health, including if their weight is putting them at risk.
What Can You Do to Help Your Pet Get Back Into Shape?
When it comes to your pet’s diet, there is a lot of conflicting information. The reality is that not all food is right for every pet, and they can be picky! It can be frustrating and costly for your pal to turn up their nose to their new dinner. If you’re trying an alternative to commercial food, you don’t want your pet to suffer from a vitamin or mineral deficiency. For exercise, it’s essential to tailor your plan to fit your pet’s activity level and current weight. It can be dangerous to go all in right away.
From planning your pet’s diet and meal portions to creating a safe plan to become more active, we’re here to support your pet’s slim-down. Let’s get started today on the road to a healthier life. We love to see the smiles of pet parents that know their pets are fit and flourishing.
If you need guidance or have questions regarding your pet’s weight, don’t wait. Make an appointment today.
Photo Credit: Mikhail Sedov / iStock / Getty Images Plus