It’s always better to be proactive rather than reactive. Instead of learning how to treat pet obesity, make it a point to learn how to prevent pet obesity before anything else. You might be asking why is pet obesity a problem, and the answer is simple: pet obesity poses many dangers on your furbaby’s health. Although there are many signs of pet obesity, it is still a prevalent problem. If you don’t know where to start, here are some facts about pet obesity:

  • Breed: Certain breeds are more prone to obesity than others.
  • Sex: Risk increases with age.
  • Neuter: Male pets are more at risk.
  • Activity level: Lack of daily and proper exercise increases the risk of obesity.
  • Diet: Pets who eat all day and/or food high in carbohydrates and unhealthy fats are more at risk. A nutritious and balanced diet is a must.

Fat dogs and cats may be cute and funny to look at, but how cute is it when your furbaby can’t handle the extra weight? You’ll be surprised to know that even just one extra pound can place stress on your furbaby’s body, making it more difficult to get up and going! That’s why, without proper prevention, your furbaby can suffer short and long-term health effects.


 obese cat health problems

Source: @scarlet_and_fields


Top 5 Health Effects of Pet Obesity

  1. Arthritis

Arthritis, particularly osteoarthritis, is a common long-term health effect of pet obesity, especially in middle-aged to senior pets.  It is one of the main contributors and earliest signs of pet obesity. This occurs when your pet adds an extra pound or two, putting stress on joints and causing them to be unstable, making it painful to walk and move around. Sounds painful? Well, it really is! The reason why it’s painful - the cartilage between the bones has worn away and his bones begin to rub against each other.  

What are the signs?

  • Decrease in activity level
  • Limping
  • Difficulty moving
  • Stiffness
  • Muscle loss
  • Licking, chewing and biting

Unfortunately, there is no cure, only temporary remedies. If your furbaby is already suffering from arthritis, there are ways you can help him manage the pain depending on the severity of his condition. According to Banfield Pet Hospital, here’s how:

For mild arthritis:

  • Weight loss
  • Moderate exercise
  • Physical therapy
  • Medications for pain and inflammation
  • Hydrotherapy
  • Nutritional supplementation or diets specifically formulated to help manage arthritis

For moderate to severe arthritis:

  • Regular checkups and nutritional counseling
  • Medications for pain and inflammation; often a combination
  • Sugery.

You can also try different kinds of pet beds to choose which one best suits the needs of your pet.

  1. Cancer

Sadly, even pets get cancer, but the exact link between obesity and cancer is still unknown. However, there are studies that suggest that obesity in pets increases the risk of developing malignant cancers. These can range from breast, urinary bladder, and even, benign fatty tumors. Regardless if your furbaby’s tumor is benign or not, it’s still best to eliminate the possibility of this occurrence.

  1. Hormone Disease

Impaired hormone release is common in overweight pets and can cause a multitude of complications as in their reproductive efficiency. Hormone diseases associated with pet obesity pet parents need to watch out for:

  • Diabetes mellitus: disease of the pancreas, sugar diabetes
  • Hypothyroidism: low thyroid hormone production and secretion
  • Hyperadrenocorticism (Cushing’: increased accumulation of fat in the abdominal cavity

In order to cure and manage such diseases, it’s best to consult with your local veterinarian regarding proper medication and diet.

  1. High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure, also known as the “silent killer”, goes beyond stress levels and high salt and sodium diets in pets. It’s the narrowing of blood vessels and their ability to handle elevated pressure flow of blood. Hence, there is a lack of blood flow in certain areas of your furbaby’s body. It’s important to have your furbaby check if you suspect him to have high blood pressure because it can lead to significant damage. If not treated accordingly, your furbaby can lose his sense of sight, experience seizures, circling, disorientation, blood in urine, damaged kidney and the bursting of the arteries.

Don’t wait for serious damage to be done, stop pet obesity. Hypertension is treatable and manageable with weight loss and beta blockers, depending on the severity of his condition.

  1. Breathing and Heart Problems

Pet obesity can make the heart work harder than it’s supposed to. The added pressure can cause obese pets to have trouble breathing, and it only gets worse if your pet already has a pre-existing condition that affects his respiratory system such as asthma, brachcephalic airway syndrome, laryngeal paralysis among others and tracheal collapse. If not treated accordingly, these respiratory conditions can become fatal.


These health effects are the reason why it’s important to know how to prevent pet obesity and to be well informed regarding the dangers of pet obesity. Take a proactive role in the health of your furbaby be providing a proper diet and exercise to stop pet obesity completely. Because effects of pet obesity can vary and go unnoticed, opt for regular checkups with your local veterinarian to ensure your furbaby is in good shape.