Pet obesity

What is obesity?

Obesity is a medical condition that involves an animal, or person, having an excessive amount of body fat, which causes other potentially serious health issues. Obesity is a growing problem for us and our pets and is becoming increasingly common in a wide range of animals. The cause of obesity is not always simple, but in many cases, it’s linked to an imbalance between the amount of food a pet eats and the amount of exercise they get.

Vets have estimated that:
  • 51 per cent of dogs are obese
  • 44 per cent of cats are obese
  • 29 per cent of small mammals, such as rabbits, are obese

Why is obesity a problem?

Pets that are overweight are more likely to suffer from serious illness and are less likely to live as long as slimmer animals. Having obesity means that animals are more likely to suffer from heat stroke, exercise intolerance, skin disease, cancer, joint issues, arthritis, hormone problems and heart disease.

How to know if your pet is overweight

Each pet is different and signs of obesity may vary between types of animals, but can include:
  • Owners not being able to feel their pet’s ribs, spine or waistline
  • Abdominal sagging
  • A bigger, rounder face
  • A reluctance to exercise
  • More panting than usual
  • Tiredness

What causes obesity

Eating too much and not doing enough exercise are usually the main contributing factors to obesity. Many other factors also contribute towards an animal’s risk of obesity, such as their age, sex, reproductive status, neuter status, diet, levels of enjoyment of food, lifestyle, species and breed of animal. An animal’s genetics has also been shown to play a part in their risk of developing obesity.

Ways to prevent pet obesity?

If your pet is overweight, then you can carefully start changing their feeding and exercise habits by:
  • Speaking to your vet about the best way to tackle your pet’s obesity
  • Increasing the amount of exercise your pet gets
  • Play with them more
  • Look at the type of food they eat and how much they’re given
  • Come up with a feeding plan
  • Record and monitor their weight

When should I speak to my vet?

If you think that your pet is overweight, it’s important that you speak to your vet about the best ways to tackle this issue and what could be causing it. When your pet starts to lose weight, you’ll notice they are happier, more inclined to exercise and have a lot more energy.