Pet Symptom Checker

Excess body fat

Medical name: Obesity


  • Overweight
  • Weight gain


Veterinary medicine defines obesity as 40 percent over a cat or dog’s optimum body weight — due to so much body fat that the animal’s normal physiological functions are compromised and the pet is predisposed to metabolic, surgical, and/or mechanical problems. Systems affected by obesity include the cardiovascular and musculoskeletal, particularly in dogs whose bones and joints suffer under all that weight. Cats can become so tubby that they can’t reach to groom themselves, leading to skin problems. Female dogs and males cats are more likely to be obese, but regardless of gender and species, there are two causes in common: Too much eating and not enough exercising. After ruling out medical causes for weight gain (like hypothyroidism or hyperadrenocorticism) your veterinarian can help with a plan for gradually reduced food intake and moderate (at first) exercise. Weight-reduction and weight-eminence pet foods really do work when instructions are followed. Gauge amounts by the desired weight of the animal, not the current (over) weight. And phase in the new diets gradually, according to the plan. Abruptly depriving animals of food can be dangerous; obese cats without food, for example, can develop hepatic lipidosis.

Zootoo does not provide veterinary medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of a veterinarian with any questions you may have regarding your pet’s medical condition.
If you think your pet may be experiencing a medical emergency, call your veterinarian or an emergency animal care facility immediately.

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