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This information is provided by Provet for educational purposes only.

You should seek the advice of your veterinarian if your pet is ill as only he or she can correctly advise on the diagnosis and recommend the treatment that is most appropriate for your pet.

It has been known for many years that excessive body weight (or obesity) is not healthy. Here we list 10 good reasons why you should keep your pet lean, trim and fit.

The most common nutritional disorder in animals and humans living in modern society is excess body weight or obesity. Various reports have estimated that 24-44% of dogs, and 25% of cats are obese (defined as 15% or more above their optimum body weight) .  That obesity is so common in pets is a surprise because for most pets it is simply caused by overfeeding, which is avoidable.

If owners were more aware of the dangers of obesity - perhaps they would be more diligent about controlling the amount of food that they provide for their pets. Here are Provet's TOP 10 good reasons to keep your pet lean, trim and fit :

  1. Obesity can reduce life-expectancy
  2. Diabetes is very common - it affects 1 in every 200 dogs and 1 in every 400 cats, and many of these cases are associated with obesity. It has even been shown that 61% of obese dogs have poor glucose tolerance and high insulin concentrations in their blood (both signs of a pre-diabetic state) long before clinical signs of diabetes, such as increased thirst,  occur.
  3. Orthopaedic problems  are made much worse if an animal is overweight. That isn't surprising because the additional weight puts unnecessary stress and strain on the biomechanics of limb and joint function. It has been estimated that 24% of obese animals have some form of locomotion problem. Veterinarians have many anecdotal reports about obese animals scheduled to have major surgery for their orthopaedic conditions which did not require surgery once they lost weight.
  4. Excess body weight increases workload for the heart and almost doubles the risk for circulatory disease to develop.
  5. The risk of developing skin disease is increased in obese individuals
  6. Overweight animals have difficulty exercising because of the effects on locomotion,. and also due to the effects of excess body tissue on respiration - making breathing difficult.
  7. Reproductive problems in males and females is often associated with excess body weight
  8. There is evidence that obese animals have a lower immune resistance to infectious diseases
  9. Obese animals have altered metabolic rates and their individual "set point" for body weight is higher than it should be. This makes achieving and maintaining weight loss very difficult for owners once obesity is established..
  10. Obese animals have a higher anaesthetic risk, and a higher risk for wound breakdowns following surgery.

So keep your pet lean, trim and fit by :

  • Controlling calorie intake to avoid excess 
  • Maintain a regular DAILY exercise programme

If your pet is gaining to much weight get the advice of your veterinarian before it progresses to obesity.


Updated October 2013