7 life limiting consequences of obesity in cats and dogs

Weight problems in domestic cats and dogs has been escalating issue in recent years. Covid-19 lockdown and restrictions may have further exacerbated the problem with less opportunity to exercise our pets. Like us, if our pets snack frequently and rarely exercise, their weight quickly increases which often comes hand in hand with health implications. Here are some of the damaging effects weight gain can have on our cats and dogs.

1. Your pet may be at a higher risk of endocrine & metabolic diseases such as diabetes mellitus, hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism.

2. The extra pressure on the skeleton increases the risk of orthopaedic disorders such as fractures, cruciate damage, intervertebral disc disease and degenerative joint disease.

3. An overweight pet is at greater risk from complications related to cardio-respiratory disease including heat stroke, tracheal collapse, laryngeal paralysis, airway obstruction syndrome and irregular heart rhythm.

4. Extra weight in the abdominal area increases the risk of urinary tract disorders such as incontinence and urinary crystals.

5. Mammary and bladder tumours and other lumps and bumps may be more difficult to detect.

6. Fleshy skin folds and the inability to groom properly can lead to skin problems such as scurf, matted fur, pressure sores and dermatitis.

7. Overweight animals have less resistance to disease.

Once a pet becomes overweight or obese, a vicious cycle often develops. The extra weight means that many animals have difficulty exercising because of the adverse effects on locomotion, heart function and respiration.

Obese animals have a slower metabolic rate and their individual “set-point” for body weight is higher than it should be. This makes achieving and maintaining weight loss difficult once obesity is established.

Breaking the vicious cycle requires diet, exercise, stimulation and motivation.  Visit your vet for advice, keep your eyes peeled for more articles from us with tips on how to safely slim your pet or why not join our FREE diet club!

Joining our Diet Club entitles you to free specialized and personalized advice from our registered Veterinary Nurse and holder of the Certificate in Canine and Feline Veterinary Health Nutrition, Ness Bird.

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