We've all seen it. Fat, cute little doggies. Those chubby cats all over YouTube and Tumblr. Heck, I've even seen pudgy rabbits. Now more than ever before, pet owners are letting their furry friends get more than "pleasantly plump"--many times, pets' weight problems are more severe than just a few extra pounds.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, half of the dogs and cats in the US are overweight, with one in five classified as obese.
While your pet might look really cute with a few extra pounds, it's really not good for them - and you can end up spending a fortune in vet bills. Some of the health problems associated with overweight pets include:
• Arthritis and other joint problems.
• Disc disease and other back problems.
• Torn and ruptured ligaments.
• High blood pressure.
• Kidney disease.
• Liver inflammation.
• Lipomas (fat tumors).
Pet owners end up spending tens of millions of dollars in unnecessary vet bills (meaning vet visits/medicine for weight-related issues, not other types of illness.)
If your pet is starting to show signs of weight-related health issues, first, talk to your vet to rule out any potential illness that could be causing weight gain, such as a thyroid problem. Your vet will also tell you what a healthy target weight is for your BFF (best furry friend.)
Then, make sure you stick to whatever advice your vet gives you, such as feeding tips and exercise routines. Don't just plunge your animal into a new routine cold-turkey; it could be traumatizing for them and could potentially lead to other health problems. Gradually change your pet's diet and exercise routine.
Thanks to Liz Weston from MSN Money for the great article! Keep your pals healthy - not only is it good for them, but it's good for your wallet!