The Prevalence of Pet Obesity and It’s Inherent Risks
Pet obesity is on the rise, and Woodlawn Animal Hospital is in the fight to stop it before it starts. Current rates of 52% in dogs, 58% in cats, reflect increases in both categories over 5 years. The extra bulk is impacting pets’ health and longevity. Studies show even a few pounds of excess weight puts pets at higher risk for osteoarthritis, joint pain, cancer, diabetes, liver disease. Not only does obesity put your pet at risk of disease, but treatment of diseases exacerbated by obesity can be costly.
Denial and Common Misconceptions
Several factors are driving increases in pet obesity, but one of the biggest is a misunderstanding of what obesity is. In one survey, 45% of surveyed pet owners stated wrongly their pet was within normal weight range.
Often, we see extreme cases of obesity because pet owners don’t notice extra pounds until they inhibit mobility or cause other debilitating symptoms. However, obesity begins with the first 3-5 lb of extra weight, depending upon breed, and should be treated early, long before signs of morbid obesity are evident. Obesity is more difficult to treat over time, so get in the fight early.
Quick Obesity Check You Can Do Yourself
To do a spot check for possible signs of obesity in your pet, reach around your pet’s midsection while they are standing. If you cannot easily feel your pet’s ribs and spine, if your pet’s waist doesn’t feel lean and trim, it’s time to visit your veterinarian at WAH for a Metabolic exam to get good nutritional diet and exercise guidelines for the earliest signs of obesity.
Major causes of obesity
- Overfeeding – many owners maintain pets on all-you-can-eat diets. It’s a recipe for obesity. Instead learn the correct portions to feed your breed and train them to live within healthy limits. We’ll show you how.
- Failure to exercise – exercise and healthy levels of activity is vital for all pets. Learn your pet breed and personality and keep a regular schedule of the activities your pet loves.
- Table foods and sugary treats – Human food, especially our favorite table treats, can be dangerous to pets for many reasons, allergies, diabetes, even poisonous. Our best advice: just don’t do it.
- Underlying medical conditions – undetected medical problems often cause obesity. It’s why regular wellness exams at WAH are so important. We’ll help you detect underlying medical conditions like hypothyroidism in dogs and diabetes in cats, that can cause obesity and other complications.
Stay current with well care! Call 773-249-7191
As with most disease, early detection is your best defense against obesity. See how extra weight on our pets compares to extra weight on humans to gain perspective on what pet obesity is. If you maintain regular check-ups for vaccinations and prevention, we’ll help you spot the early signs. If you suspect you already have a problem, take advantage of this month’s Metabolic Exam.
What WAH does to fight obesity
- Early Detection with our Metabolic Exam
- Activity recommendations and exercise plans
- Diet programs specific to your pet’s and your lifestyle