Weight Issues In Pets: What You Need To Know
If your pet is overweight or underweight, then it could lead to more severe health conditions further down the line. There are many reasons your cat or dog could gain or lose weight, so it may be a good idea to know what signs you could look out for, and what you could do to help treat any weight issues in your pets.
Here are a few things that you may need to know about weight issues in pets.
Is My Cat Overweight?
Before deciding on any course of action, it may be helpful to find out whether your pet is overweight or underweight. You could have a look at this guide on how to check if your cat is overweight from Everypaw, a pet insurance provider for cats and dogs. It also includes a video from their resident vet to show you what you can look out for.
Different health issues can be caused by either too much weight or too little weight in cats. If you notice that your pet may be at an unhealthy weight, then it could be a good idea to have them checked over by a vet. Some illnesses can cause weight gain or weight loss in cats so it could be a good idea to have them checked by a professional for your peace of mind.
Is My Dog Overweight?
For dogs, you could use a similar technique for checking if they are at an unhealthy weight. Feeling their ribs and looking at your dog from above could help you to see if they are at the right weight or not. There may also be some behavioural changes in your dog if they are overweight. These could include lethargy and irritability.
Like most animals, there are some health conditions that could impact dogs that are overweight. It may be a good idea again to consult with a vet about your pet’s health if you are unsure.
What Can Cause Excessive Weight Gain
In pets, overeating or under-exercising could be the reason behind excessive weight gain. You could help to combat this by playing with your pets, encouraging them to move around and taking your dog on regular walks. If you have an indoor cat playing as exercise could be important to reduce your cat’s weight.
If your dog is overweight, then it could be a good idea to ensure that they get regular daily walks depending on their breed and age. If they are very overweight or obese, you may need to start with gentle exercise for initial weight loss, and then you could pick up the pace once you see some results.
Overeating can present another reason for excessive weight gain in pets. In cats, this can sometimes happen when a cat is unknowingly being fed by neighbours as well as yourself. If you live in a multi-pet household, it may be a good idea to monitor your pets as they eat to see if your overweight pet may be stealing food from your other pets or you could feed your pets separately.
What Can Cause Weight Loss
The cause of weight loss in pets can be trickier to pin down. Reasons for weight loss can often be relatively easily treated, such as weight loss caused by worms which are unpleasant but easily treated issues in cats and dogs.
If your pet has worms, you may notice that they have no appetite, due to an upset stomach from the parasites. Equally, some cats or dogs may show an increased appetite while still losing weight due to worms. If you suspect worms, then it could be a good idea to have your pet checked over by a vet, who can recommend treatment and further steps.
If your pet has unexplained weight loss, talking to a vet could help put your mind at rest. It may be that your pet has an allergy or an underlying health concern, so having them checked over could be the safest choice for your pet.
A good dental care routine from an early age could help to ensure that your pet’s teeth stay healthy for as long as possible. You could start making dental care a part of your daily pet care routine from when you get your pet or when they are a puppy or kitten.
Good dental health could help to prevent under eating that could be caused by sore and unhealthy teeth. Many pets may dislike having their teeth touched and cleaned so you may wish to try dental treats for cats or dogs that can help clean their teeth of plaque and debris.
It may also be advisable to have your pet’s teeth regularly checked and cleaned by your vet or at the groomer. Good dental care at home may help to keep your dog or cat’s teeth healthy and could prevent any weight loss.
As our pets get older, the reasons for any excessive weight gain or loss could change. While under-exercising, over-eating and parasites like worms could still be the culprit, sometimes issues associated with ageing could play a part in your pet’s weight issues.
Like humans, as our pets get older, they can sometimes have problems with their teeth. If your pet has painful or loose teeth, then they may refuse food due to discomfort. If you think this is the cause of under eating, you could take your pet to the vet for professional treatment.
As our pets get older, they may also start to slow down and be less active than they used to be. Old age can impact both cats and dogs in terms of their health and activity levels. They may start to develop arthritis which can be as common in pets as it is in humans. Arthritis could contribute to excessive weight in your pet.
If your older pet has started to become less active, you could try to encourage them to move around where possible. While it may be tempting to allow your older dogs to rest, it can help them if you keep going on walks with your dog to keep their joints moving and as healthy as possible.