Rise in Pet Obesity

By May 31, 2021 June 2nd, 2021 Uncategorized
Overweight pug looking upwards

Obesity rates in humans have been increasing across the US. Now, more than 40% of American adults suffer from obesity. It can be dangerous to people’s health. Obesity isn’t only on the rise in humans but is becoming an issue for pets as well.

What Health Problems Can Pet Obesity Cause?

Just like for humans, obesity can be unhealthy in pets. Pets that are obese are more at risk for either developing or worsening conditions than if they were a healthier weight.

Obese cats are more at risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary tract/bladder disease
  • Bruises or contusions
  • Disorder of the gall bladder
  • Asthma
  • High blood pressure

Obese dogs are more at risk for:

  • Diabetes
  • Heart failure
  • Liver disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Arthritis
  • Urinary tract/bladder disease
  • Bruises or contusions
  • Torn ligaments in the knees
  • Decreased thyroid hormones
  • Spinal disc disease

What Causes Obesity in Pets?

Overweight cat sitting on a hardwood floor

There are several factors that can contribute to a rise in obesity in pets:

  • Overfeeding
  • Less exercise
  • Breed
  • Genetics
  • Injuries
  • Arthritis

Why Is Pet Obesity on the Rise?

Obesity in pets is caused by eating too much and not getting enough exercise. There are also complicating factors at play, such as genetics and injuries that prevent exercise. But the primary factors are diet and activity.

Obesity in pets is becoming more common because pet owners are overfeeding pets and not giving them enough exercise. Most pet owners are aware of the risks of pet obesity and are careful to not overfeed or underexercise their pets. However, the pandemic changed things for a lot of pet owners.

How Did the Pandemic Affect Pet Obesity?

The pandemic saw people’s lives disrupted as shutdowns occurred across the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19. More people than ever before were spending unprecedented amounts of time at home.

While this was good for pets in terms of the amount of attention they could get from their owners, it may also have resulted in some overfeeding. Additionally, since pet owners weren’t getting out of the house themselves, it was more difficult for them to take their pets out for exercise.

How Should You Treat Pet Obesity?

Dog on a walk outside

The first step is to consult with your veterinarian. Your vet can examine your pet for health issues that may be causing the obesity or whether the obesity is causing other health issues. Your vet can then recommend a diet for your pet to help them lose weight.

It will be important for pet owners to enforce the diet. This means that no matter how adorable your pet looks when begging for food, you need to be strict about not giving in. It’s also important to stay active. Making sure your pet gets enough exercise can have the added benefit of ensuring that you get more exercise, too.

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