Obesity is the most common nutritional disease of pets. Experts estimate that 25% or more of all pets are overweight, and over half of those owners are in denial. Obesity prevention and weight reduction lessen the risks of health problems, improve your pet’s appearance, decrease future health-care costs, and prolong life. Obesity exists when a pet is more than 15% over its optimal body weight. Predisposing risk factors are:
Overfeeding pups and kittens (increases the number of fat cells)
Aging (Obesity increases with age due to reduced physical activity and more efficient metabolism.)
Gender, (Unfortunately, obesity is more common in females.)
Neutering, (Obesity is more common in spayed or neutered pets.)
Client feeding habits, (Owners can actually love their pets to death with food.)
Reduced physical activity (Modern life can be too comfortable with central air and heat, wall to wall carpeting, too plentiful food and nothing to do but watch TV. Anybody want to go for a walk?)
Table food (Salty, greasy, spicy human table tastes so good it over-rides the satiation or fullness feedback mechanism signalling people and pets that its time to stop eating.)
Free choice feeding (Providing pets with unlimited access to food does not work for some pets who tend to overeat. They must be rationed to save them from themselves.)
Some of the problems overweight pets face include
Musculoskeletal problems such as arthritis and IV disc disease
Respiratory difficulties like asthma, COPD,
High blood pressure
Congestive heart failure
Liver disease
Decreased heat tolerance
Increased incidence of skin disease
Increased incidence of tumors like lipomas and certain cancers