Causes of Weight Gain
If the food is available free-choice and the pet finds it very palatable they can easily over eat. Even though some dogs, and a larger percentage of cats, can be fed free-choice without overeating, if your pet is overweight they are not one of these pets. NO FREE CHOICE FEEDING! You have to start meal feeding them twice a day.
Spaying and neutering. This important step causes about a 25% decrease in the calorie requirement, so it is very important to reduce the pet’s food consumption by a similar amount after spaying or neutering.
The body’s metabolism slows down as we age – for both pets and people – so the amount of food you or your pet consumes should decrease as well. Pets vary greatly at the stage of their life where their metabolism starts to slow down. Their activity level will also decrease with age. Watch your pet as they get older and be ready to decrease their food intake if their body starts to fill out.
Like us, pets that are stressed will have a tendency to gain weight. Stress causes the adrenals to secrete more glucocorticoids, which ultimately leads to more accumulation of body fat.
Activity not only helps burn calories, but in dogs especially it can help relief boredom which can lead to over eating.
Diseases account for only a very small percent of obese pets. With a disease like diabetes it is difficult to know which came first, the disease or the excess weight. Other diseases which cause obesity are; Cushing’s, insulinoma, pituitary disease, and hypothyroidism.