Healthy eating and physical exercise are just as crucial for your pets as for you! October 12, 2022 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day in the United States. How can you determine if your cat or dog is overweight? The general rule is that you must be able to feel your pet’s ribs but not see them. To acknowledge National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, this blog will discuss the statistics, risks, and prevention of pet obesity.
Statistics of Pet Obesity
Did you know that 60% of cats and 56% of dogs were overweight or obese in the United States in 2018? A latest online survey from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) indicates that most people consider pet obesity a disease, while pet food and nutrition continue to be a divisive topic among veterinary professionals and pet parents in the U.S.
Risks of Pet Obesity
As a pet owner, you must understand the risks of a medical problem for your pet’s future. Dogs and cats with excess fat risk developing diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, and other forms of cancer. The most critical decision you determine daily about your pet’s health is what you choose to feed it. Select wisely; your pet’s quality of life and longevity depend on it.
Many orthopedic issues in dogs lead to arthritis. Since their symptoms (muscle loss, aversion to exercise, stiffness, etc.) usually intensify over time, various treatments are available for dogs with arthritis, such as anti-inflammatory medications, prescription pain medications, acupuncture, and nutritional supplements. Although it can impact any dog, it’s prevalent in older canines and giant breeds like Great Danes, Rottweilers, German Shepherds, and Doberman Pinschers.
Furthermore, our dog’s ligaments and tendons can strain and even tear due to over-exercising or repeated injury. The Cranial Cruciate Ligament (CCL) is the canine equivalent of the ACL in humans. If your dog or cat continues to run and play with an injured ligament, they are likely to hurt it more. Large breeds such as Mastiffs, St. Bernards, Labrador retrievers, and Newfoundland Dogs are more likely to suffer from this injury. Added pounds can make your pet more prone to this injury.
Another orthopedic issue is hip dysplasia. This condition is when one or several of your puppy’s hip joints develop abnormally, causing them to grind against each other. It’s a genetically inherited condition that mainly impacts significant to giant dog breeds like bulldogs, mastiffs, retrievers, and Rottweilers. Keep in mind that extra weight on your dog can exacerbate this issue.
Diabetes in cats and dogs can happen at any age. Even though it’s more prevalent in older pets, it can also affect younger pets. Fortunately, diabetic pets can live long and happy lives with proper monitoring, treatment, and excellent diet and exercise. Remember that a treatment that works for one pet may not work well for another. So, management of your diabetic dog and cat might include the following:
- Weight loss
- A high-fiber diet for dogs and a high-protein, low-carbohydrate diet for cats.
- Daily exercise for both dogs and cats. Consult with us about an appropriate exercise program designed for your pet.
- Owners should also consider spaying female dogs diagnosed with diabetes.
High Blood Pressure
High blood pressure in pets happens when their arteries are too narrow or stiff. This triggers the heart muscle to work harder. Common causes in dogs and cats include being overweight, diabetes mellitus, kidney disease, hyperthyroidism, and crushing’s disease. High blood pressure in dogs and cats can also display signs or symptoms such as coughing, low energy level, difficulty breathing, rapid breathing, and fainting.
Weight Loss in Pets
To help you care for your pet friend, here is more information regarding diet and exercise. They just may save your dog’s or cat’s life.
Each pet has unique nutritional needs. Just like people, every pet’s metabolism is different. This means every pet has different caloric needs. Speak to one of our veterinarians to discuss your individual pet’s nutritional and caloric needs to ensure they are receiving the correct amount.
While most pet owners and veterinarians focus on how long their pets should exercise each day, they should also ask what activities are ideal depending on their pet’s species, breed, gender, age, and current physical abilities. Make your outings also cheerful, interactive, and entertaining. In addition, your dog might benefit from using an underwater treadmill if they have certain conditions or injuries. This therapy can also help your dog enhance muscle tone and limb use with fewer chances of re-injury.
Also, consider getting a pet activity monitor. This is a great tool to document how much your pet is playing or walking each day. Fortunately, you can share these reports with our Mount Carmel Animal Hospital team to identify any deficiencies or ways to maximize your training. Happy National Pet Obesity Awareness Day!
Here at Mount Carmel Animal Hospital, We’ll Treat Your Pets Like Family!
Mount Carmel Animal Hospital has been serving the Northern Baltimore/Southern York community for over 30 years and is proud to be an independently operated, small animal practice committed to excellence in veterinary medicine and client service. From grooming to wellness services, along with Canine Life Skills Training Courses, and surgical procedures, we have the expertise that will best serve the needs of you and your pet. Contact us at 410-343-0200 and follow us on Facebook!