According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, pet obesity is on the rise and has been for some time. The association reported that in 2018, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were overweight or obese. A few extra pounds on your fur baby might not seem like that big of a deal, but the issue can get out of control before you know it.
Not only is obesity itself a problem, but there are also other serious conditions that can develop due to your pet’s excess weight.
Here’s a list of the top 10 obesity-related conditions that should be on pet parent radars.
1. Arthritis — When a cat or a dog carries extra weight, it can cause wear and tear on their joints. Their joints become overloaded and the cartilage can start to break down. Obese animals are also more prone to inflammation, which can make arthritic change and joint discomfort even worse.
2. Bladder/Urinary Tract Disease — Urinary tract disease is a general term that describes bladder and urethral disorders, including urinary tract infections, urinary incontinence, and urinary crystals or stones. Common signs of urinary tract disease include:
- Straining to urinate
- Blood in the urine
- Urinating small amounts more frequently
Veterinarians can detect urinary stones and crystals with X-rays or urinalysis.
3. Soft Tissue Trauma — Soft tissue trauma includes strains, sprains, and damage to the muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Signs of soft tissue trauma include:
- Excessive licking on joints or legs
- Limp tail
- Loss of appetite
- Reddened joints
- Reluctance to exercise
- Swollen paws
- Swollen joints
- Unexplained crying out or yelping
If you suspect that your cat or dog might have soft tissue trauma, contact your veterinarian for an official diagnosis.
4. Diabetes — Yes, cats and dogs can develop diabetes too. Diabetes in pets can also lead to other medical conditions like cataracts and recurrent infections. Diabetes can be treated with insulin and lifestyle changes, but these treatments can be costly.
5. Chronic Kidney Disease — This condition occurs when the kidneys have deteriorated to the point where they are no longer able to filter the blood properly or produce healthy urine. Signs of kidney disease include a noticeable increase in thirst and frequent and heavy urination.
6. Liver Disease — You’ve probably heard of “fatty liver disease” in people, but overweight pets can get it too. Though cats are most susceptible to fatty liver disease, dogs are also at risk. Liver disease can cause your pet’s liver to stop getting rid of toxins.
7. High Blood Pressure — Diets high in fatty foods can lead to hypertension, which is also known as high blood pressure. With hypertension, the heart has to work even harder to pump oxygen-rich blood throughout the animal’s body. All that extra work can lead to congestive heart failure, which can be fatal if left untreated.
8. Respiratory Problems — Excess fat along the chest wall and in the abdomen tends to compress the lungs, which reduces the amount of air your pet can take in. Too much fatty tissue surrounding upper airway structures, like the pharynx (throat) and trachea (windpipe), can contribute to upper airway collapse, which may cause symptoms including snore-like breathing, wheezing, and coughing.
9. Cancer — Cancer is one of the more serious obesity-related medical conditions in both pets and people. Not only does obesity increase the risk of developing cancer, but it also increases the chance that tumors will be malignant.
10. Decreased Life Expectancy — Studies show that many Americans don’t even realize that they’re overfeeding their pets because they’ve never had a nutrition consultation to learn how much food their pets need. Pets that eat appropriate amounts of food live an average of two years longer and have had fewer medical problems, according to Veterinary Practice News.
Get a plan to manage your pet’s obesity today
Don’t look the other way if you notice that your pet has packed on a few pounds. Veterinarians can run tests to diagnose any ailments and help you get your pet’s health back on track.
If you’re worried about your pet’s weight but you’re not sure what to do, contact Airvet. Proactive care can help increase your pet’s longevity so they can live a long, healthy life for many years to come.