obesity pets

Obesity in Our Pets

In this short series we will focus on obesity in our pet, discuss the causes, how it effects our pets, treatment and management of obesity and some tips on how much to feed your puppy…..

Obesity is an excessive build-up of adipose tissue (fats) in the body. It is categorized as a nutritional disease. Obesity is associated with decreased life span, along with many health risk factors. Obesity is common in animals of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle aged pets, generally between 5 and 10 years old. This disease can be preventable.

Causes of Pet Obesity

Obesity occurs when there is an excessive amount of adipose (fat) tissue accumulated in the body.

Obesity can be caused my several different factors. The most common cause of obesity is due to overfeeding and lack of physical exercise. Excessive treat giving contributes to overfeeding.

The disease may become common in older patients due to the decrease in the animal’s ability to exercise resulting in bone or joint pain. Older pets metabolize food much slower than younger ones.

Studies show that obesity in our pets it associated with hormonal and metabolic changes within the body.

Other causes of Obesity in our pets include:

  • Physiology – Pets over five years burn fewer calories as they have a decrease in activity. Certain breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Spaniels etc. are predisposed to this disease.
  • Diseases – Certain diseases such as Hypothyroidism, Insulinoma (a small tumour in the pancreas that produces an excess amount of insulin), and Hyperadrenocorticism can contribute to weight gain.
  • Medications– certain medications can lead to an increase in weight gain, some of which include; Glucocorticoids (increased fat deposition) and Phenobarbital (increases satiety and overeating).
  • Studies have shown that neutering/spaying may cause satiety due to the decrease in the production of sex hormones and energy expenditure.

In some cases, misconception of the animal body condition (not recognising its presence).

Read Part 2 – Effects of Obesity