Obesity in dogs and cats is much more usual than it seems, its a problem in close connection with food habits and owner’s sedentary lifestyle. Overweight and obesity cause other health problems, reducing pet’s longevity — as it happens with human beings. Obesity is related to high food consuption and low phisical activity (discarding endocrinal problems).

Renato Zanetti, specialist at pet’s well-being, shows truth and miths about pets’ obesity:

  1. Obesity can cause other health problems to pet.
    TRUE. Obese dogs and cats have more risk to other health problems: diabetes, lung and heart diseases, artirculation, skin and reprodution problems, exercice intolerance, higher caloric stress, higher risk in anesthesias.
  1. Castration makes pets fatter
    TRUE. Castrated animals have twice a chance of becoming obese because of hormonal changes and reduction of physical activity. BUT this is not a motive for not castrating; you can reduce the problem with higher phisical activity and food control.
  1. Obesity is caused ONLY by food excess.
    MITH. There are two causes for obesity: metabolical (it has a lower incidence, about 5% of cases) and behavioral (higher incidence).
    Metabolical causes: endocrinal problems ( disfunction of thyroid gland, adrenal glands, pancreas, hypophisis or hypothalamus.
    Behavorial causes: giving too much food to pet; small phisical space; sedentarism; bad food habits.
  1. Phisical activity helps do reduce wieght
    TRUE. Increase caloric expenditure colaborates with weight reduction IF associated with food reeducation. Just like it is with human beings.
  1. Dogs eat because they are “greedy
    TRUE. Hunger (physiological need caused by nutritional déficit) is different from appetite (desire to eat). Dogs can eat a higher quantity of food  than he needs in one meal. As they don’t know when they will eat again, dogs are always ready to eat.
  1. There is an ideal weight for each race (dogs and cats)
    TRUE. Even with a variation from one pet to other, there is a pattern for each race that can be a reference to check if pet is fat.
  1. Some foods are forbidden to dogs and cats.
    TRUE. Some foods are only toxic for dogs and cats, others are forbidden and can kill if eaten in great amount.
  1. I can give fruits and vegetables to dogs and cats.
    TRUE. Yes, fruits and vegetables that are not considered toxic or forbidden can be given to dogs and cats.