Obesity or excess weight, is a serious health problem that affects nearly 50 percent of middle-aged dogs and cats in the US. The two main causes of obesity are too much food and too little exercise. Other contributing factors can be hormonal, genetic, or disease related.
If your pet is carrying extra weight, it can:
- Increase the risk of heart disease by forcing the heart to work harder.
- Increase the risk of arthritis as extra weight stresses joints, causes joint pain, and makes it harder for your pet to move around comfortably.
- Cause breathing, skin, and coat problems.
- Increase the risk for diabetes especially in cats.
All of these symptoms can make your pet uncomfortable and limit them in their ability to interact with you.
Cause and treatment
In order to combat obesity the underlying cause must be determined. Hypothyroidism, a deficiency of the hormones produced by the thyroid, pituitary gland, or the hypothalamus can lead to excess weight caused by a slowed metabolism. Reducing the number of calories and increasing the amount of exercise your pet gets can help them successfully lose weight. Your veterinarian can help determine if your pet is too heavy and select a plan of action that best suits the needs of your pet to help them get back down to a healthy weight. Slentrol is an oral weight loss drug available to dogs who are not able to lose weight through any other means.