Just like us humans, when pets carry extra weight their health, wellbeing, and mobility are affected. If you read our previous post on how to use a Body Condition Score to assess your pet’s weight, it’s time to understand more about mobility issues.
As well as having a clear understanding of how to correctly condition score your pet, it is also essential to understand the importance of your pet maintaining a healthy weight.
From a veterinary physiotherapy perspective, the main concern is if your cat or dog is overweight. Besides the health conditions such as breathing and heart conditions, one of the biggest problems associated with being overweight is the impact that it has on your pet’s joints.
Whether your pet is young or older, being overweight leads to a massive increase in pressure placed on their joints.
- Younger pets – being overweight means that their joints are likely to experience more wear and tear, leading to arthritis earlier.
- Older pets – potentially having arthritis already, excess weight will cause extra pressure on the joints leading to movement being more painful for your pet, which could be avoided if their weight is within the ideal range.
If your pet already suffers from an orthopedic condition such as hip dysplasia, elbow dysplasia, or arthritis – the excess weight that they carry will not only exacerbate the condition but may set the rehabilitation process back due to the unnecessary strain on these joints.
If your dog is overweight, they are also potentially more susceptible to conditions such as a torn cruciate ligament.
As well as weight causing excess pressure to be placed on the joints, being overweight can take up to 2 years off the life expectancy of your pet. It can reduce their quality of life by carrying extra pounds as this takes its toll; leading them to become slower to get up and down, to get tired and breathless quicker, and they are less likely to play and interact.
To ensure your pet’s quality of life is not compromised by being overweight, it’s important to understand how to manage your pet’s weight through diet and exercise. Find out more in our next blog post in the series:
Other blog posts in this series:
- Health issues associated with overweight pets
- How to assess your cat or dog’s weight with body condition scoring
- Seven ways to cut calories from your pet’s diet
The Author: Eve Bestwick is a fully qualified pet physiotherapist at our Pet Fitness & Rehabilitation Centre in Bromsgrove, Worcestershire. Eve enjoys working with a variety of animals and has a special interest in canine arthritis and rehabilitation.