The Risks of Pet Obesity and its Effects on Health

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Obesity is a problematic issue in pets and had caused much research to be done. Scientists and veterinarians are figuring out if genetics can play a role and how owners can fix the complication. Obesity is defined as the build-up of excess body fat that is 20 percent above the ideal weight, is typically developed at an early age and is exacerbated by neutering. According to The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, over 100 million pets are obese. 59% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are classified as either overweight or obese. The problem of pet obesity is that owners fail to acknowledge the seriousness of health risks and instead the owners would find their pets weight gain as adorable. There are answers to why owners should increase their focus on the pets' weight to prevent serious issues. To begin the factor of obesity is caused by the bad management of ownership and genetics. Adding on, the journey of decreasing weight is often failed due to the trouble of losing weight and the ability to maintain a healthy weight. Finally, the types of health risks caused by obesity and the development of diseases that shorten life expectancy.

The relationship between owners and their pets may be associated with obesity. Obesity is a leading problem in the United States for both the owners and pets. Taking the statistics from the Center for Disease Control Prevention and American Veterinary Medical Association more than 68.8 percent of adults are considered either overweight or obese, while more than 55 percent of dogs and cats out of 100 million are overweight or obese. A research had been done and scientists observed that overweight owners are mirrored to their pets. As an owner, many are unaware that their pets are overweight, which correlates to humans that are obese. This means that if the owners are overweight or obese, there is a chance that their pets may be the same. Since pets are usually treated as family members or like their child it leads to owners wanting their pets to eat right which causes the pets to gain extra weight. Adding on, this leads to bad management, such as the attempted measurement of smaller portion sizes with cats and small dogs since they are at greater risk of overfeeding when compared with larger animals. According to “Owner and Cat Related Risks Factors for Feline Overweight or Obesity”, Wall had confirmed that the size of food bowls, plates, bowls, and utensils such as scopes can change the amount of food that is given and the amount consumed.

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Genetics has a small role in pet obesity because there is a study that genetic factors affect the response to the body with diets in fat-derived energy. Some pets are selectively bred, which means that within some breeds such as Labrador retrievers, bulldogs, basset hounds, dachshund, french bulldog, etc. These breeds are likely to be ruled by a relatively small number of genetic variants with larger effects. The role of genetic variation determines the body’s response to the consumption of dietary fat amounts. This development of obesity does not only depend on the balance of food intake and energy expenditure. Meanwhile, the balance between the white adipose tissue and brown adipose tissue, decrease in energy and increase the appetite. The white adipose tissue, which is the main energy reservoir and the brown adipose tissue is specially designed to disbursing the energy through the mitochondrial uncoupling protein. The adipose affects whether fat was gained across a range of organisms. According to the NHS, “Gene found that controls fat in animals” mentioned that the adipose acts as the “master switch” which tells the body where to put the fat that is taken from their consumption of the diet.

Considerable effort is needed to achieve a weight loss for the pets and to reach target weight, but maintaining the weight loss is an important matter. Poor owners’ management affects the long-term success with dietary weight loss, with the weight gain being common after initial loss for pets. The energetic restriction during weight loss increases the risk of regaining, most likely as a result of increased metabolic efficiency. Energy restriction is known as a calorie restriction which the nutritional intervention that repeatedly shown to increase lifespan in animals and may delay aging. The restriction of energy was less marked in the regaining than in those that are not regaining. A standard diet in the post-weight-loss for animals increases the risk of weight regain. Obese animals will regain the weight following after a successful weight loss and can regain more than half of the weight loss. The animals regain more than half their weight due to many owners not being able to continue a healthy portion size of food and decrease of exercise after weight loss. The importance of the continuation to monitor the animal after weight loss is to ensure that the health benefits of weight loss are maintained.

'The Big Problem: Battling Companion Animal Obesity” stated that the continuation of not improving the weight of the animal can increase the deformities of the bone or muscles, cardiac, renal disease, skin disease, hypothyroidism, Cushing’s syndrome, and insulin resistance. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of lowered metabolism, especially middle-aged dogs. While Cushing's syndrome is the condition in which a dog produces too much cortisol which is a stress hormone. This can lead to an increase in appetite, loss of muscle mass, and increase fat storage and weight gain. Some animals such as cats can establish diabetes, hepatic lipidosis, urinary tract disease, lameness, and dermatographism. Dermatographism is a condition where the mechanical pressure induces mast cells in the skin to release the contents of the granules. This leads to increased itching and hives. Additionally, pet obesity has been linked with chronic inflammation and many forms of cancer. According to Vet Innovation, “Pet Obesity Epidemic Fact Sheet”, obesity-related medical conditions decreases the quality of life and reduce the life expectancy of up to two years.

One of the health risks is the orthopedic disease. The orthopedic disease causes forelimb disorder such as shoulder osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD. It is where the area of bones fails to mature and mineralize properly, creating a thickened area of cartilage within the joint. The thickened cartilage becomes a problem for normal activity and can form a flap of cartilage that exposes the underlying bone. Large breed dogs are affected by the fragmented medial coronoid process. This is commonly known as arthritis and bursitis, which can cause pain and dysfunction in the animals' daily life.

Another health risk of pet obesity is renal disease. Renal disease is chronic kidney disease where the inability of the kidneys to efficiently filter the blood of waste products. According to WebMD, “Kidney Problems in Dogs”, kidney disease can be the result of ingesting toxins, including antifreeze, certain medications, tainted foods, etc. This decreased blood flow or oxygen delivery to the kidneys, infections and urinary obstruction. Kidney failure abrupts the decline in function that can occur over days. Pets who are overweight can get skin disease which can get a skin infection in areas where the skin folds on itself. Low thyroid hormone can predispose a pet to be overweight as well.

The main concern of pet obesity is the resistance of insulin. To begin, the resistance of insulin as a result of obesity happens due to the downregulation of insulin receptors, reduced receptor binding affinity, and post-receptor defects glucose metabolism. Insulin resistance is a condition in which a normal amount of insulin causes an insufficient decrease in blood glucose levels. It means that the existing pancreatic beta cells, that are still functional cannot produce enough insulin to overcome the inherent insulin resistance of cells. This allows persistent hyperglycemia to happen. Hyperlipidemia is an abnormally high concentration of fats or lipids in the blood, which is common and has been linked to the increased incidence of pancreatitis. Additionally, the resistance of insulin can cause a lot of damage such as infection, reproductive hormone disorders, growth hormone disorders, thyroid disorders, neoplasia, etc. This mostly occurs in obese dogs.

The problem of pet obesity is that owners fail to acknowledge the seriousness of health risks and instead the owners would find their pets weight gain as adorable. To begin the factor of obesity is caused by the bad management of ownership and genetics. Adding on, the journey of decreasing weight is often failed due to the trouble of losing weight and the ability to maintain a healthy weight. The importance of the continuation to monitor the animal after weight loss is to ensure that the health benefits of weight loss are maintained. If obesity is not maintained there are many risk factors such as diseases that appear can damage the daily function of the pets. 'The Big Problem: Battling Companion Animal Obesity' stated that the continuation of not improving the weight of the animal can increase the deformities of the bone or muscles, cardiac, renal disease, skin disease, hypothyroidism, Cushing's syndrome, and insulin resistance. The simplest way to help pet obesity is to calculate the calories, tactical treating, cutting down the carbs, and measuring the daily meal intake.

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The Risks of Pet Obesity and its Effects on Health. (2022, Jun 29). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 21, 2024, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-risks-of-pet-obesity-and-its-effects-on-health/
“The Risks of Pet Obesity and its Effects on Health.” Edubirdie, 29 Jun. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/the-risks-of-pet-obesity-and-its-effects-on-health/
The Risks of Pet Obesity and its Effects on Health. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-risks-of-pet-obesity-and-its-effects-on-health/> [Accessed 21 Jun. 2024].
The Risks of Pet Obesity and its Effects on Health [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Jun 29 [cited 2024 Jun 21]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/the-risks-of-pet-obesity-and-its-effects-on-health/
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