Today (October 14) is National Pet Obesity Day. So let’s talk about the elephant fluffy dog (or cat) in the room.
Obesity, defined as an excess amount of body fat, can have serious adverse health effects on your pet, including:
- Torn ligaments
- Joint pain
- Spinal disc disease
- High blood pressure
- Liver & kidney disease
- Bladder & urinary tract disease
- Heart failure
Did you know that more than 50% of pets in the US, and up to 60% of pets in Canada (specifically dogs and cats) are overweight or obese? That’s alarming, yet not altogether surprising, given that approximately 40% of American adults and about 27% of Canadians over 18 are also obese.
So what’s the deal? Why are our pets so chunky?
Are we overfeeding our furry friends? Are we feeding the wrong foods? Or are they just not getting enough exercise?
While diet and exercise may be a major factor in weight gain, we can’t blame pet obesity on that alone. Spaying and neutering, along with a handful of diseases can also cause our pets to pack on a few extra pounds:
- Cushing’s disease (Hyperadrenocorticism)
For pets, particularly smaller breeds, a “few extra pounds” can be catastrophic. Take dog breeds in the toy category, for example — an extra 3lbs for them is equivalent to your or I gaining about 30lbs.
For a variety of reasons, some breeds are also more prone to packing on the pounds, such as:
- Basset hounds
- Golden & Labrador retrievers
- Several types of spaniels & terriers
Whatever the cause may be, the facts remain: