This month we are focusing on the ever increasing concern of pet obesity. According to the 2014 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey created by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, over 52.7% percent of dogs and 57.9% percent of cats are overweight or obese. Just like in people, excess body fat puts a strain on multiple organ systems and can predispose pets to diseases like diabetes mellitus and arthritis.
Here are a few specific examples: Extra belly fat can increase the risk of back injuries in long-backed breeds like Dachshunds, Bassett Hounds, and Corgis. Extra fat and skin around the neck in short-nosed breeds like Pugs, English Bulldogs, and French Bulldogs can make it more difficult to breathe and increase the risk of heat stroke and respiratory distress. In general, extra fat puts more strain on the heart, and high amounts of fat circulating in the blood stream can lead to pancreatitis and clots (although pets do not get atherosclerosis, disease of the arteries, a like humans).