If you have noticed your pet putting on weight at a startling rate, it may not have to do strictly with overeating. Just like humans, there are a lot of things that go into a pet’s weight and why they gain or lose it. Excessive weight gain in a short amount of time can be a very clear sign that something isn’t quite right with your furry friend. It’s important to keep an eye on them and make sure you are weighing them regularly. If you want to know some of the reasons why your pet could be gaining weight, keep reading.

Why Your Pet is Putting on Weight Unnaturally

Source: AnimalCareTV/YouTube

1. Tumor

Certain types of tumors, cancerous or not, can cause your pet to start putting on weight. This can happen gradually or very suddenly. If you notice your dog gradually gaining weight or doing so very quickly, you should get a vet visit as soon as possible. The sooner you can find a tumor, the better your pet’s chances will be at recovering from it.

2. Water Retention

Water retention can cause your pet to not only be physically heavier and can make them look larger as well. This could be caused by low-quality food that contains sodium, or it could be a more serious health issue. Water retention could be a sign of kidney or bladder issues, both of which are serious in pets and should be looked into immediately.

If your pet looks like they have been putting on weight overnight, it may be water retention and not fat.

3. Poor Diet

A poor diet is a very common cause of excessive weight gain in pets as much of the pet food out there is not made with very good ingredients. Many pet food brands are full of grains, dyes, and fillers. This kind of food encourages weight gain as it is not primarily protein, which cats and dogs should be eating.

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4. Overfeeding

Overfeeding is another very common cause of weight gain in our furry companions. As much as we may love them, overfeeding them is not the way to express that love. Pets should only ever eat the recommended amount of food and those that are already a bit overweight should eat less. Pets should also be fed at certain times during the day to better manage how much they eat. If their food is left out, this can encourage poor eating habits and less self-control.

5. Diabetes

Diabetes is a relatively common health issue among animals that often leads to excessive weight gain. It can even cause water retention at times. Diabetes is a condition that has to be treated, or your animal will become very sick. It is also very important that diabetic animals be put on a weight management program as they will have a tendency to become obese.

6. Stress

Excessive amounts of stress can result in your pet putting on a large amount of weight out of the blue. This will often happen if a big change takes place like moving or them not seeing someone anymore. Keep an eye on your pet to make sure that they are not overeating during a stressful time, and try to keep them active and to eat a balanced diet.

7. Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism is a thyroid gland issue where the thyroid gland is underactive. This can cause them to gain weight as their metabolism is compromised. It’s most common in older dogs, but any pet can get it. If your pet is putting on weight due to hypothyroidism, they will most likely display other symptoms as well, such as fatigue, unhealthy coat, ear and skin infections, and skin thickening.

8. Genetics

Genetics can also play a big role in how your pet gains weight. Some breeds are more genetically inclined towards obesity, while others are prone to diseases that lead to weight gain. This is why it is so important to do your research and understand the health risks of the type of animal that you are adopting.

How to Help your Pet Stay at a Healthy Weight

Now that you know some of the reasons why your pet could be gaining weight let’s look at some preventative measures. It can be hard for a pet to lose weight once it has been gained, so prevention is always the best option.

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Regular Vet Appointments

Having vet appointments is a critical part of maintaining your pet’s health. Every healthy pet should have one to two vet appointments every year. If your pet has any kind of health condition or already struggles with weight, you may need to have three to four vet appointments a year. This is a crucial step in catching illnesses quickly in pets as they can often hide any symptoms that they might have.

Feed Them A Healthy Diet

Feeding your dog a wholesome and healthy diet is one of the best ways to keep their weight manageable. Pets should be eating the recommended servings of food and no more. If they are a bit chunky, they should even be eating slightly less. You should also be feeding them food that is full of protein and has few fillers.

Give Them Exercise

All pets should be getting some form of exercise regularly, whether this is playtime, walking, running, etc. Exercise is a key part of controlling your pet’s weight in a healthy way that does not involve food. It is healthy because it manages their weight, but it also keeps them fit and active, which can help with overall health. Try to get your pets used to exercise at a young age so that they can learn to enjoy it. Cats especially may require some creative ideas to get them active and moving.

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