We're Loving Our Pets to Death
Written By Dr. Gary Holfinger
The most common disease we see daily in practice is not fleas, or arthritis, or organ failure – it’s obesity. It’s truly a case where we are loving our pets to death.
Animal obesity is becoming an alarming trend in America. A study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that 58% of cats are overweight, and 53% of dogs are overweight. As a result of increased weight, our pets slow down while still at an active age. The resulting inactivity leads to boredom, laying around, and eating even more food.
It can be hard for pet owners to notice gradual weight gain in their pets when they see them every day. We suggest weighing pets at least twice yearly, and making changes in both diet and activity levels to keep them lean and active. Pets who continue to gain weight in spite of their owner’s best efforts should be checked for hypothyroidism or cushing’s disease, both endocrine disorders that make weight gain easy.
Just like humans, obesity can lead to many harmful health problems. These can include type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart problems, and different types of cancer. Research has shown that pets of a healthy weight live longer.
If you suspect your pet may be overweight the best thing to do is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. They can help you plan a safe and effective weight loss and exercise program. They can also check for other medical causes for the weight gain. It is best to start early. Maintaining a healthy weight is much easier than trying to lose weight.