Obesity is one of the leading health problems in companion animals today, affecting close to 40% of dogs and cats visiting a veterinarian. Pets who are overweight have an increased risk of heart disease, respiratory problems, hypertension, diabetes and arthritis.

A pet’s obesity can be due to many factors, including overfeeding, lack of exercise, and/or an inappropriate diet. Additionally, there are some diseases that can cause weight gain, most commonly hypothyroidism, or abnormally low levels of the thyroid hormone. This disease can result in inexplicable weight gain, skin abnormalities, or other problems and is diagnosed through a blood test.

If your pet has been gaining weight without any plausible reason it is a good idea to have him/her checked out by a veterinarian to rule out any medical conditions that may be contributing to the weight gain.

Visiting the veterinarian is also a good idea when you would like to determine if your pet is overweight, or if you would like to help your pet lose weight. During your visit the doctor will give your pet a thorough health exam and you will be given recommendations based on your pet’s individual needs. These recommendations will include potential diet changes, appropriate feeding amounts, and exercise requirements so that you can help your pet reach or maintain a healthy weight.