Bernese Mountain dog running in park.

There are several factors that contribute to weight gain. Primarily, there is an unbalanced ratio of calories taken in versus calories used. Patterns can emerge over time (begging for treats, passing over nutritious/healthy foods, preferring to spend more time on the couch, etc.) that all play their roles in weight gain. Pet owners have the power to prevent pet obesity with a proper diet and daily exercise. The best part? An active lifestyle and age-appropriate nutrition directly impact quality of life and longevity. Win-win!

The Risks of Weight Gain

A few extra pounds on a human might be inconvenient, but it can be downright dangerous to a pet’s health. When scaled to human proportions, any extra weight carried by a cat or dog can be extremely harmful. The good news is that health risks can be entirely avoided when methods to prevent pet obesity are carefully observed. 

Unfortunate Imbalance

Overfeeding is the leading cause of pet obesity, but it is definitely exacerbated by a lack of consistent exercise. This imbalance of too many consumed calories with fewer opportunities to burn them off leads to the body storing the calories as fat.

To prevent pet obesity, it is also necessary to assess your pet’s breed and age. Some pets are genetically predisposed to a heavier build, and others experience pain and arthritis as they age. It may seem counterintuitive, but letting an arthritic pet off the exercise “hook” actually has the potential to worsen their symptoms. All pets benefit from daily exercise. 

Prevent Pet Obesity, Promote Health

When you prevent pet obesity from gaining a foothold, you can guard against the following associated health problems:

  • Osteoarthritis
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney disease
  • Respiratory disease
  • Neurological conditions
  • Skin issues
  • Problems with the reproductive system

Obese or overweight pets also have a greater risk of injury, decreased immunity, and anesthesia risks. A constant state of inflammation is common in pet obesity. 

How to Prevent Pet Obesity

Our staff can help you find the right product that meets the needs of your pet’s species, breed, age, health, and lifestyle. It can take time to train them to accept a new diet, but a slow, steady introduction can make all the difference to them accepting it. 

A daily routine is critical to your weight loss strategy. Meals should be at the same time every day, and must be measured in exact portions. It may be worth it to invest in a slow feeder bowl to discourage your pet from scarfing down their food. Always encourage drinking clean, fresh water between meals.

  • Do not feed your pet table scraps
  • Stop feeding them treats
  • Encourage eating fresh veggies and fruit

Exercise Matters

You can prevent pet obesity by engaging in the following daily exercises:

  • Walking
  • Swimming
  • Hiking
  • Agility training
  • Playing fetch

If you have any questions about your pet’s weight or lifestyle, please give us a call at (719) 839-0446 or click here to schedule an appointment. You can always count on the At Home Pet Doctor to help your pet.