According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) more than half of our country’s pets are overweight or obese, and that extra weight takes a toll on furry friends’ bodies. Studies show that lean pets live longer than heavier companions — and those years are healthier, too.
Lean pets generally have less joint pain and enjoy more mobility than furry friends who pack on the pounds.
Carrying excess weight means more than not being able to keep up with the pack — portly pets aren’t able to enjoy life to the fullest:
- playing: One of the best things about being a pet is being able to play with reckless abandon. If it’s hard to even walk, you can forget about romping.
- grooming: To cats, cleanliness is paramount. But overweight cats can find it difficult to reach all the places they need to when they’re bathing themselves. This leads to an unkempt appearance, matted fur and an increased chance for skin infections.
- exercising: Overweight pets are often plagued with orthopedic pain, and extra pounds can compromise the respiratory system. It’s an effort to walk down the block for these pets, let alone chase a ball.
- taking the heat: Overweight and obese pets are more susceptible to heat stroke than lean pets. For some heavy pets, even just being outdoors on a hot day is dangerous.
- recalling house training: Heavy pets with painful joints may choose to soil the rug rather than go outside or take a painful step into the litter box, especially if it means climbing stairs to get there.
If your pet seems less active or may be tipping the scales toward obesity, schedule a visit with your vet to discuss healthy, fun ways to get your pet pouncing and prancing again.