Macarthur Veterinary Group
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Why Is My Pet Overweight?

Do not over feed your petsThere are 7 major risk factors involved in becoming overweight:

  • Overfeeding
    • Your pet requires a certain amount of food to meet their nutritional requirements. Even a little bit over this amount, especially if given every day, is likely to be stored as increased body fat.
    • The problem is usually too much food, or high calorie titbits and treats.
    • Refer to our "Weight Loss Tips" for advice to avoid over-feeding your pet.
  • Lack of exercise is a major factor in obesity in petsLack of Exercise
    • Pets with decreased activity or restricted opportunity for exercise are at greater risk of becoming obese. If the energy in the food is not used up, it is likely to be stored as fat.
  • Pets in the 2 to 8 years of age group are more prone to being overweightAge
    • The percentage of obese pets is greatest in the 2 to 8 years age group.
    • Young growing animals are much less likely to become overweight.
    • Once they stop growing, their metabolic requirements reduce. If we continue to feed them the same amount of food, they are likely to become overweight.
    • Older pets are likely to be less active
    • Due to the health implications of obesity, fewer obese pets live beyond 8 years of age!
  • Medical Problems
    • occasionally weight gain is associated with a medical disorder that may require corrective treatment
  • Sex
    • Obesity is more common in females than in males.
  • Desexing
    • Dogs and cats that have been desexed are statistically more likely to become overweight.
    • Desexing often lowers a pet’s metabolic rate. This means that they require less food to maintain their optimum bodyweight after they have been desexed.
    • We often desex our pets at about the same time that they have stopped growing (see above point)
    • If we continue to feed them the same amount of food, they are likely to become overweight.
  • Genetics
    • Some breeds are more likely to be overweight than others.
    • In dogs, Labrador Retrievers, Cairn Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Dachshunds, Shetland Sheepdogs, Basset Hounds, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Beagles are just some of the breeds more likely to become obese
    • In cats, the normal "moggy" (domestic short hair and domestic long hair) is more likely to be obese than purebred cats.

Over-feeding and lack of exercise are the 2 major causes of obesity. Fortunately, we can control these factors.

Find out more about our Weight Loss Program and what to feed my obese pet?