Obesity is a growing problem for cats and dogs. A recent study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 55.8% of dogs and 59.5% of cats in the US are overweight. That's over half of the dogs and cats in the United States!
How Can I Help My Pet Lose Weight
There are also some medical conditions that can contribute to weight gain in pets, or that even make it more difficult for them to lose their excess weight. Conditions such as hypothyroidism (too little thyroid hormone in the body), Cushing's disease (too much cortisol/steroid in the body), certain heart diseases, and even osteoarthritis can have an effect and impact on a pet's weight and their ability to regulate it properly. This is just one of the reasons why it's important to have a check-up with your vet prior to starting any weight loss program.
Not only can this extra weight cause or worsen obesity, but it can also put excess strain on the pet's heart and joints and make conditions like osteoarthritis, diabetes, pancreatitis, chronic skin infections, recurrent urinary tract infections, heatstroke, and other medical problems more difficult to manage. Obesity is associated with chronic inflammation, which plays a role in the development of health issues including osteoarthritis. Extra weight has a negative impact on the comfort and quality of a pet's life. In fact, a long-term feeding study showed that overweight dogs had a shorter life than their normal weight counterparts. Recognizing and getting on top of a pet's weight problem won't just help their comfort level, but it can also generally mean more happier, healthier years for both of you.