Is your pet getting a bit round? Do you have a furry little butterball on your hands? If so, you’re not alone! Many of our four-legged friends are overweight or obese. In fact, some studies show that well over half of dogs and cats are, well, rather pudgy. While chubby pets may be adorable, those extra pounds can pose a serious threat to your furry pal’s health. In honor of Pet Obesity Awareness Day, which is coming up October 7th, a Portland, OR vet discusses pet obesity below.
Obese pets can face some very serious medical problems, including heart disease, liver and kidney issues, skin problems, respiratory troubles, reproductive issues, and even certain cancers. Because extra weight puts additional stress on our furry friends’ bones and joints, chubby furballs are also at increased risk of developing painful bone/joint problems. Being obese can also increase your pet’s risks of developing post-surgical complications, and can even shorten your furball’s life expectancy!
While age and genetics can affect your pet’s weight, diet and exercise are the two main factors that will determine your furball’s size. Making sure your little (or not so little) buddy gets proper nutrition is very important, but you don’t want to go overboard. Of course, many dogs and cats have their owners trained to give them extra snacks and treats. Don’t fall for that soulful stare or those cute meows! Ask your vet for specific nutritional recommendations, including portion sizes, feeding times, and healthy treats. You’ll be much less likely to give in to your furry pal’s theatrics if you know that your pet is eating exactly what they are supposed to.
Many of our furry companions are very playful and energetic when they’re young, but, just like people, dogs and cats often slow down as they grow older. If you have a canine buddy, ask your vet for advice on Fido’s activity needs. Your pup’s exercise requirements will depend on his age, weight, health, and breed. As for Fluffy, well, you probably won’t have much luck getting her to do stair runs, so you may have to trick your kitty into moving. Offer your feline pal lots of fun toys, and play with her daily.
Does your pet need to lose weight? Do you have questions about your pet’s diet? Contact us, your Portland, OR pet hospital, today!