When it comes to our pets, it can be difficult to resist pathetic puppy eyes and piteous kitty mews. We’ve all found ourselves giving in and handing over “just one more” treat or “just a taste” of our leftovers, but these small indulgences can have a huge impact on your pet’s health. 

While having a chubby companion may seem harmless, your pet’s weight significantly affects their wellbeing. Maintaining a healthy size and weight can keep your dog or cat from suffering from a wide variety of weight-related issues like arthritis or diabetes. Read on to learn about how extra pounds impact the pawed members of your family.

Overweight Pets Have a Higher Risk of Serious Health Issues

Obese pets are more likely to develop diabetes, kidney disease, and some types of cancer. Additionally, they tend to suffer from respiratory problems. Overweight and obese dogs and cats have more problems with joint pain, arthritis, bone injury, and muscle soreness. Many overweight pets also struggle with skin disease and high blood pressure.

Extra Weight Can Make Having Fun Impossible

Chubby cats and dogs may get a lot of likes on Instagram but excess pounds hold your pet back from enjoying life as much as they could. 

Weight affects your pet’s ability to move and breathe. They will be easily fatigued and will lose their breath quickly. Joint pain can make walks and time outdoors less enjoyable and make pets reluctant to partake in activities they once loved. A dog that may have once played for hours at the dog park may only be able to engage for a few minutes once obese.

Obese Pets Have Shorter Lifespans

Your pet’s weight is directly tied to their life expectancy. Carrying around extra pounds can reduce a dog’s or cat’s life by more than two years.

What Can I Do to Help My Pet Lose Weight?

It’s easy to feel guilty about your pet’s size. After all, as pet owners, we’re responsible for their meal size, treats, and exercise. If your pet is overweight, you’re not alone and we’re here to help you get them fit. 

You’re also not the only pet parent with an overweight cat or dog. Almost one in five canines is obese and over 50% of dogs and cats are overweight. How can you help your pet reach their ideal weight?

Identify and Recognize the Issue

Pet parents are frequently unaware of their pet’s weight problem. How does this happen? You see your pet every day and weight gain happens gradually, making it easy to miss the change in their body.

If your pet’s ribs are hidden behind a layer of fat, they may be overweight. Want to find out for sure? Make an appointment and we will weigh your pet, analyze their body condition, and partner with you on a plan to lose pounds.

Updating Your Pet’s Diet

Considering a change in diet? We can help determine if your pet’s food and treats are helping or hindering weight loss, or if you can simply change the portion size and their feeding schedule. If your pet does need weight-control food, we’ll help you find a variety that works for your companion and budget.

Beginning An Exercise Regimen

Well-meaning pet parents may try to begin a rigorous exercise routine with their overweight pet but this is often a bad idea. Since excess weight causes breathing problems and joint issues, these can be aggravated by too much exercise too soon. If you’ve ever tried running a 5k after spending five (or more) weeks on the couch, you can relate.

Obese pets need to start slow but get moving. From a hide-n-seek dinner to short walks, there are many ways to get your pet’s heart rate elevated. Low-impact exercise like swimming can be fun for overweight pets and provide a low-impact exercise alternative.

Remember to make it fun and stay positive as your cat plays or your dog enjoys their exercise. Pets love play, so look for ways to challenge their minds and their bodies.

We’re Here to Support You and Your Pet

If you’re looking for answers and solutions for your pet’s weight loss, call us and we’ll ready the scale. We’re committed to helping you keep your pet healthy, happy, and living their best life.

Image credit: cynoclub / iStock / Getty Images Plus