Enter Email to Save Contact to Phone

Feasting on the Facts of Pet Obesity

Feasting on the Facts of Pet Obesity

As the autumnal hues finish trickling off the trees and we embark on the winter season, many Western New Yorkers are looking forward to fattening their bellies over the holidays. Who doesn’t love feasting with family and friends to celebrate and give thanks for the happiness in our lives? As we know, the annual Thanksgiving feast means Thanksgiving leftovers, which often times are gifted to the four-legged family members. It’s crucial to remember what kinds of foods are toxic for dogs and cats, but in honor of the feast season, Veterinary Emergency Clinic wants to take some time to talk about the prevalence and dangers of pet obesity.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 58{6fdd4a93fbc373f337c30c94810533ae1e27fe778d1bee3cbebd09402be2e06e} of cats and 54{6fdd4a93fbc373f337c30c94810533ae1e27fe778d1bee3cbebd09402be2e06e} of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Think about that for a second. Over half of our animals are at a weight that isn’t healthy for them. Clearly many factors contribute to this startling statistic, but the bottom line is our pets are fat. So what can we do?

After a 2015 national survey confirmed a continued rise of obese pets, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, Dr. Ernie Ward, showed true passion in stating,

“The American Medical Association (AMA) recognized obesity as a disease in 2013. I think the time has come for the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) to follow suit,”

Unhealthy diet (like too much turkey and gravy leftovers) and lack of proper exercise are two of the most common causes of pet obesity, but there are other causes you may not be so aware of. Dogs and cats begin to lose lean body mass as they age, resulting in a loss of energy. If the aging animal’s diet and exercise don’t stay steady with its ever decreasing lean body mass, fat begins to store. Neutering results in a loss of sex hormones, which slows an animal’s metabolism, and increases the chances of obesity. Some pet medications can lead to unnecessary weight gain. As simple as it sounds, overweight pet owners are actually another factor that contribute to the increasing number of overweight pets.

The problem with pets getting heavier is the same as the problem with human obesity–the health risks.

Some of the conditions that can occur as a result of excess weight are:

  • Decreased stamina (exercise intolerance)
  • Breathing difficulty
  • Heat intolerance
  • High blood pressure
  • Diabetes or insulin resistance
  • Liver disease or dysfunction
  • Lameness due to arthritis
  • Increased surgical/anesthetic risk
  • Lowered immune system function

As Thanksgiving approaches, take some time to think about how thankful you are for your pet. Understand that overfeeding, giving human leftovers, and too many treats may feel like you are loving them, but you aren’t helping them. Instead of killing your pets with kindness, consider a proper healthy diet and exercise to ensure they live a long and happy life!


Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

(716) 839-4043
(716) 839-3256
Open 24 hours per day, 7 days per week, including nights, weekends and holidays!