What should a dog or cat owner look for to find out if their pet is overweight, or even underweight? According to a survey of veterinarians in the United States, it’s estimated that about half of all dogs and nearly 60% of cats are overweight! When an animal isn’t the right weight, it opens up the possibility of serious health problems. Fortunately, weight management is something that can be taken care of with proper diet and regular exercise.
Possible Causes for Weight Problems
Just like people, each one of our furry friends is unique. There can be a number of reasons as to why a pet is gaining weight more rapidly than another.
One reason is often their increasing age. When dogs and cats age, their metabolism slows down, making it easier to gain weight.
Another is simply genetics. Some breeds of dogs and cats are known to gain weight easier than others.
What type of food is your pet eating? Pay close attention to the ingredients that make up your pet’s daily meals. If they’re loaded with sodium and fat, your pet may find it tasty and subsequently may overindulge.
Also, be sure to check your pet’s meal sizes. If the food tastes good to your pet and you serve them more than they should be eating, they’ll likely eat it all. When they overindulge, they take in more calories than necessary.
It’s important to note that some dogs will be overweight due to underactive thyroids. Fortunately, we can use bloodwork to detect these issues. Some cats may also be underweight due to kidney or thyroid disease. Both are diagnosed with bloodwork, as well. It’s another reason to maintain regular checkups and schedule an appointment if you notice weight issues with your pet.
Why Weight Management Matters
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, your pet’s weight “is one of the most influential factors of longevity, quality of life, and disease prevention.” We all want to keep our pets around for as long as possible. As pet owners, must be proactive to ensure our pets’ longevity by helping make sure that we put them on the right diet and exercise regimen for their size and breed.
When pets are underweight, it can be a sign of another health issue. This is why it’s important to monitor our pets’ weight to identify health issues before they become serious.
The topic of weight management underscores the importance of scheduling your appointment with Dr. Bruce’s Animal Hospital for your pet’s regular checkups.
When you come in, we’ll ask about how active your pet has been. Do you take them out on regular walks, to get fresh air or exercise? Just like we humans need to stay physically active to maintain good health, our pets need the same. After they run around, be sure to give them plenty of water!
At your dog or cat’s checkup, we’ll examine their weight and will be able to tell you if your pet is over or underweight.
If your pet is overweight, we’ll make suggestions on adjustments to their diet. Be sure to take a picture of the brand of pet food you’re currently feeding your loved one, as well as the ingredient list. Bring this in for your appointment so that we can take a look to make sure your pet is receiving all of their necessary nutrients.
Dr. Bruce’s Animal Hospital: Your Pet’s Health Resource
Caring for a pet isn’t always easy. It becomes much easier when you work with a well-qualified veterinarian who can help provide the right advice for your pet’s best health.
At Dr. Bruce’s Animal Hospital, we take great pride in looking out for your pets! Schedule your appointment today so that we can make sure your pet receives the best preventative care available.