Everyone loves to have a cute and cuddly pet at home, but as a pet parent, you should know that too much fat is not cute, but unhealthy. Most owners may be under the misconception that their pet is not overweight, but, has big built. Some may believe that a little bit of chubbiness doesn’t matter at all. This way of thinking can have huge impact on the health and lifespan of your pets.
Pet owners do take notice when their pet has gained too much weight, but it may be too late then, as some of the health conditions are irreversible. Let’s look at some of the major risks associated with pet obesity.
Obesity Risks in Pets
Studies have shown that overfed and overweight pets live a few years less, compared to pets which have been fed moderately. This has been proven in the case of dogs, cats, fish, rats and hamsters. Pets having lean body mass experienced less health issues and lived almost two years longer. Moderation is the key, when it comes to feeding your pet and it also keeps them active throughout their lives.
Obese cats and dogs can develop diabetes, which can lead to further issues. Insulin receptors do not respond to the increased blood sugar levels, because the pancreas that secrete insulin, stops functioning properly and may eventually fail. This leaves excessive presence of glucose in the bloodstream. This condition can be controlled with medication, but because of the added stress, it can cause weakness of the muscles in cats and blindness in dogs.
High Blood Pressure
Obesity is known to cause high blood pressure, especially in dogs. If your pet is being raised on a diet high in fat and calories, which is responsible for excessive weight gain, then the risk of high blood pressure increases. It is better to screen your pet regularly for blood pressure to control it early, because it can lead to many health complications.
Excessive weight leads to high blood pressure in cats and dogs, which in turn adds increased pressure on the heart. This decreases the amount of blood received by the kidneys and gradually results in kidney disease. This condition is sometimes irreversible, leading to kidney failure. It is best to keep your pet in a healthy weight to prevent this issue. Know about the effects of kidney disease in dogs and kidney disease in cats here.
Overweight pets can suffer from painful joint disorders or arthritis. As the weight on the joints and tendons increases, the cartilage starts breaking down, leading to degenerative joint disease. This condition can cause chronic pain and affect the movement of pets. The lesser the weight their joints can support, the better for your pet.
Obesity can lead to respiratory problems and many other related complications in pets. Accumulation of fat in the chest wall obstructs the air flow to the lungs, making it difficult for your pet to breathe. You may notice that your overweight cat or dog starts panting and struggles to draw oxygen, even after a short walk. It can be distressing not only for your pet, but for you too, to see them suffer.