Is your pet obese?
Posted October 05, 2017
humans, pets can develop excess body fat that can lead to serious
health problems such as diabetes or degenerative joint disease. But
how can you tell if your pet is obese?
In recognition of National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on Oct. 11,
Dr. Audrey Cook, associate professor at the Texas A&M College
of Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences, offers some
"It can be hard for owners to determine if their pet is at an
ideal weight, so ask your veterinarian for their opinion," Cook
said. "In addition, you can check your pet's weight regularly at
home to catch weight gain early."
Obesity is a serious health condition that can directly impact a
pet's lifespan and quality of life. For instance, an obese pet may
have difficulty breathing, become fatigued with routine exercise,
and be unable to groom itself effectively. Although obesity is
treatable, in most cases, it takes time and dedication to a create
and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"In general, feeding the appropriate amount of a high-quality
diet, combined with regular exercise and limited treats, is the
best way to keep your pet in good shape," Cook said.
With so many different brands of pet food available, creating a
high-quality diet can be confusing or even challenging. Cook
advises that consulting with your veterinarian about the
ingredients in your pet's food can ensure that your furry friend is
getting the nutrients they need. As far as exercise, aim to give
Fido a daily walk and encourage indoor Fluffy to play, chase toys,
and "hunt" for food.
Besides diet and exercise, there are other factors that may
contribute to the development of obesity, including orthopedic
disease, which can limit an animal's mobility, or an under-active
thyroid gland (more common in dogs), which can cause substantial
In addition, Cook said that some medications—particularly
steroids—can increase appetites and encourage weight gain.
To provide your pet with a healthy and happy life, consult your
veterinarian about keeping a balanced lifestyle and choosing the
right food for your pet's nutritional needs.
Pet Talk is a service of the Texas A&M College of
Veterinary Medicine & Biomedical Sciences. Stories can be
viewed on the Web at vetmed.tamu.edu/pet-talk. Suggestions for
future topics may be directed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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