Obesity in domesticated animals is becoming more and more of a problem every year. Following the current trend in human medicine, we are beginning to see an obesity epidemic develop in our pet dogs and cats. Recent studies suggest that as many as 25-45% of our pets are considered overweight and 5-15% are considered obese.
There are many ways to define obesity: subjectively, objectively, and a combination of the two. Although we can get very scientific and perform extremely accurate tests to determine the exact amount of fat carried by a pet, a simple physical exam is often more than sufficient to detect a problem. Animals who have accumulated enough fat to have a negative impact on their health are relatively easy to recognize.
In people, there are numerous studies linking obesity to various other health problems. In pets the studies are not as plentiful, but the associations we do have paint a similar picture. Kidney disease, diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disorders, orthopedic disease, osteoarthritis, and cancer are all associated with obesity. Prevention and treatment of obesity offers owners the ability to experience longer, happier lives with their pets. Studies suggest that leaner pets will also experience fewer and less costly vet bills.
If you have questions or concerns about your pet’s weight, contact your family veterinarian. At Animal Emergency & Referral Center of Minnesota, we can provide nutrition consults for pets with chronic weight loss issues. A consultation with one of our board-certified veterinary internists will provide you with multiple options to help your pet lose weight safely. Contact our Internal Medicine Service for more information.
Learn how to help your pet lose weight here.