Today vets in Raleigh North Carolina are talking about the ninth annual Banfield State of Pet Health Report and the focus on the increase in obesity and osteoarthritis in pets.
Vets in Raleigh North Carolina on The Rise of Obesity and Arthritis in Pets
At the end of June, Banfield Pet Hospital released its State of Pet Health 2019 Report and the data they shared was shocking. According to the report, there has been a 66% increase in the cases of osteoarthritis in dogs and a 150% increase in cats over the past decade! The same data also found that 52% of dogs and 41% of cats with osteoarthritis were also obese.
What does this mean?
It means that today compared to ten years ago, our pets are much more likely to be unhealthily overweight and many of those pets are suffering from joint disease, a problem caused in large part by obesity.
Obesity and Your Pet
Just like humans, there are multiple factors that can contribute to your pet’s obesity. While hormonal imbalances and medication side effects are among those causative factors, a lack of exercise and a poor diet are two of the biggest culprits.
Pet parents don’t set out to allow their pets to become obese but it often happens as a result of misguided thinking. Take a look at some common misconceptions that often contribute to pet obesity…
- Senior dogs would rather sleep all day than go for walks.
- Treats are a good way to show that you love your pet.
- “All life stages” pet foods are fine for all pets.
In the case of these misconceptions…
- Senior dogs enjoy walks as much as other dogs do! Walking gives your dog the chance to explore, to learn about the environment, to experience new stimulus and to meet friends. They may not be able to walk as far as they once could, but walking is still a fun and necessary activity that allows your senior dog to exercise their natural instincts.
- Food is not love. This is particularly true when your pet is obese. Overfeeding your dog or cat will increase their chance of becoming obese and obesity opens the door to a whole host of health conditions. If you want to show your pet how much you love them, go for a walk together, play together, or just give them a belly rub!
- “All life stages” pet foods are not formulated to meet the needs of all pets. Depending on your pet’s age, activity level, and current health, they may be better suited to a different type of food. If you’re unsure what to feed your pet, have a conversation with your vet about what your pet’s needs are and spend some time doing your research to find a food choice that meets those needs.
So, how much exercise should your pet be getting and what is the ideal portioning for their food? This all depends on a variety of things (particularly their activity level), so it’s always best to talk to your vet to come up with a healthy lifestyle plan for your pet.
Addressing Your Pet’s Obesity
If your pet is already overweight or obese, it’s crucial to address the problem right away before it has longlasting effects on your pet’s health or makes existing problems worse. The simplest way to address obesity in any pet is to control their food intake and increase their exercise, but it’s important to do this under the strict supervision of your vet.
Joint Disease and Your Pet
The State of Pet Health 2019 Report also brings to light the increasing problem of joint disease in pets and highlights an association between obesity and joint disease. In fact, the report found that dogs with osteoarthritis are 1.7 times more likely to be overweight or obese than dogs without OA and cats with OA are 1.2 times more likely to be overweight or obese than cats without OA!
Osteoarthritis is a progressive condition that results from inflammation as the cartilage in the joints degenerates over time. Unfortunately, once your pet is experiencing osteoarthritis there is no way to reverse it, but there are some things that you can do to improve their quality of life.
- Keep your pet at a healthy weight. Excess weight puts more pressure on painful and inflamed joints.
- Consider hydrotherapy as a source of pain-free exercise.
- Add a pet glucosamine and chondroitin supplement to your pet’s daily routine.
- Talk to your vet about pain relief medications, and when icing and heating joints can help.
Do You Need to Talk to Vets in Raleigh North Carolina About Obesity and Osteoarthritis?
If you want to talk to vets in Raleigh North Carolina about obesity and osteoarthritis in your pet, our team of vets is happy to help! Just give us a call today at (919)870-7000 and let us get your pet started on a healthy weight loss program and a joint support regimen so that they can live a happy and healthy life.