Obesity is a civilization disease. Increasingly, it applies not only to people, but also to animals.

It is defined as a pathological condition characterized by the growth and excessive accumulation of fat tissue. Some definitions divide it into overweight (15% increase in body weight) and obesity and morbid obesity (30% increase in body weight).

Research shows that on average as many as 37% of animals are overweight or obese!

And in one study, this value reached even 60%. As you can see, these numbers are very large and the scale of the problem has long ceased to be marginal. The problem of obesity is not only an aesthetic problem, it is related to health and, therefore, also to life expectancy. Obese animals are at risk of diseases such as diabetes, circulatory diseases, respiratory diseases, orthopedic diseases, in cats, fatty liver disease, and in dogs, endocrinopathies. Other problems that may result from obesity include: changed drug dosage - in the case of fatty animals, it is much more difficult to determine the appropriate dose, and the visibility of the surgical field is worse, as well as difficult general diagnostics. Obesity even worsens the wound healing process.

If we notice too much weight gain in our dog or cat, we should react as soon as possible. First of all, you should look at the animal's diet - is it really suited to the species? Remember that both dogs and cats are carnivores, and feeding them high-carbohydrate food may contribute to their weight gain. If we determine that the type of food we have chosen is appropriate (I personally recommend barf or high-meat wet food), and despite this the animal is gaining weight, we should take a closer look at the amount of food eaten.

Very often we do not include tasty treats in our pets' diet

and what we give them between meals, and even a small addition of food can affect the weight of a dog or cat. Many caregivers compensate for the lack of a walk or adequate amount of play with an additional snack. For humans, one more treat is nothing, but for a small dog or cat, if fed regularly, it can affect its body weight. If our pet does not eat much, has adequate food, none of the family members feed it, and yet it gains weight, it may turn out that overweight is related to some health problem. To determine it, blood tests and possible further diagnostics will be necessary, carried out in accordance with the veterinarian's recommendations. Sometimes, in addition to dietary treatment, pharmacological treatment may be necessary. However, sometimes a situation happens that despite the absence of diseases and a relatively good diet, according to the owner, the pet gains weight. Then it is a good idea to seek the help of a zoodietician who will look at the whole thing with fresh eyes and perhaps locate the problem faster and propose a solution.

One of the very important factors, apart from a proper diet, that helps in losing excess weight is physical activity. However, in the heat of losing weight, we must not forget that too intense activity can harm the animal. In cases of extreme obesity, it is a good idea to seek advice from a physiotherapist who will help you choose the right exercises for a given animal. A water treadmill works very well. However, too long walks or runs can strain the joints and adversely affect the animal's musculoskeletal system.

The weight loss process is complex and long-lasting.

Losing weight too rapidly is not healthy, so you should approach weight loss with common sense. Drastic reduction of portions and too intense training will negatively affect your pet's health and will also increase the risk of the yo-yo effect. Just like in humans, losing weight in animals is not the easiest thing. Often, guardians see nothing wrong with their pet being too round. Society has become accustomed to being overweight. Many people, when they see a Labrador of the correct body weight, will consider it a typical dog or a starving dog, because dogs of this breed should be round. The situation is similar with big cats. Some owners boast about how big their cat is. They don't care that weight is related to obesity. It's better to boast about a 15-kilogram Maine Coon than to admit that the cat weighs only slightly more than a larger dachshund. However, let us remember that such thinking is extremely harmful. It shortens the lives of our pets, reduces their fitness, and therefore the animals cannot enjoy life to the fullest.


Natural supplement for dogs and cats

Ewa Salwerowicz-Skoczylas

Ewa is a zoodietician, a specialist in raw diets for dogs and cats, and a lover of all animals. He is interested in animal protection law and the dietetics of carnivorous animals. Co-founder of the BARFNE KOREPETYCJE project. Passionate about natural pet nutrition. For years, it has been promoting healthy nutrition for dogs and cats, in particular BARF feeding. He co-runs the most recognizable groups on Facebook regarding dogs and cats, i.e. BARFNE KOREPETYCJE – CAT, BARFNE KOREPETYCJE – DOG. Privately, she is the caretaker of two adopted cats - Florek and Mysia, a rabbit dachshund Luśka, and a giant tarantula Koks.