Our cats and dogs can also have weight problems. And, as for us, being overweight poses risks to their health. This is why it is important not to take weight gain in your pet lightly. Thanks to regular veterinary monitoring and appropriate measures, you can offer a better quality of life to your cat or dog.
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Overweight in dogs and cats: a growing problem
In our current society, the issue of overweight in our little hairballs is becoming a major health concern. According to the WHO (World Health Organization), 35% of cats and 30% of dogs suffer from weight problems in France.
A rather alarming figure, because it is truly a long-term health problem. Besides the aesthetic side, an overweight cat or dog can get sick:
- Breathing difficulties
- Type 2 diabetes in cats
- High blood pressure
- Cruciate ligament problems in dogs
- Spinal disorders
A non-exhaustive list of the consequences of an animal "overfed". Because, yes, the problem often lies in the amount of food provided by the owner of the dog and cat. Although it is true that it is very tempting to give treats to your little companion, an excess of food can present a real danger.
It is therefore necessary to be very attentive to the quantities necessary and adapted to your pet. Each animal is different and requires defined caloric intake. Also note that some dog and cat breeds are more prone to obesity or overweight, such as Labradors, for example, or small dogs. A sterilized and sedentary animal also requires an adjustment of its diet.
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Why pay attention to the weight of your dog or cat?
Excessive calorie intake or lack of exercise can affect your dog or cat's overall well-being. In addition to causing various diseases, it is his entire daily life that is impacted:
- More fatigue: overweight acts on the body which tires faster
- Less enthusiasm: your dog or cat's desire to play decreases
- Difficulty moving around
- Skin problems: the animal can not clean itself properly causing the proliferation of bacteria or parasites
A vicious circle that forces your cat or dog to spend less and therefore gain even more weight. It is estimated that an overweight animal decreases its life expectancy by about 2 years!
How do I know if my cat or dog is overweight?
Unlike us, there is no well-defined weight curve. It is therefore difficult to evaluate an ideal weight, because many factors come into play: morphology, activity, sterilization, etc. Veterinarians use repositories-like tools based on physical appearance. They estimate an overweight dog or cat when the ideal weight is exceeded by 15%!
Here's how to recognize your pet's overweight? :
- Accumulation of body fat: a layer of fat appears in the back or belly, bulges form at the base of the tail
- Loss of definition: run your hands over the side of his chest. If you feel his ribs without pressing, it is because his weight is "normal". Otherwise, the suspicion of overweight is very real
- Difficulty moving: your dog or cat is tired and/or short of breath as soon as it is in motion
If you observe some of these symptoms, it is imperative that you consult a professional to obtain adequate veterinary care. He will assess the level of overweight and help you set up an action plan. Generally, all it takes is a suitable diet with low fat content and targeted exercises according to the age of your pet for him to regain his ideal weight. Be patient, it is not a question of drastically reducing the quantities or exhausting your pet.