top of page
  • Writer's pictureellie

Pet Obesity Day 2023: The Downsides of Obesity In Older Pets

As Pet Obesity Day 2023 rolls around, it's a timely reminder for pet owners to reflect on the health and well-being of their furry companions. While obesity remains a pervasive issue among pets of all ages, the focus today is on the elderly members of our families – our older pets. Just like humans, as pets age, they become more susceptible to the harmful effects of obesity.

In this blog, we will delve into the downsides of obesity in older pets, exploring the risks, causes, and preventive measures every responsible pet owner should be aware of.

The Rising Concern of Pet Obesity

Pet obesity is a growing concern globally. Recent studies suggest that more than 50% of dogs and cats in the United Kingdom are overweight or obese. However, when it comes to older pets, the problem becomes more complex and potentially more dangerous.

Understanding Obesity in Older Pets

As pets age, their bodies undergo several changes, including a decrease in metabolism and a reduction in physical activity. These natural processes can make them more prone to gaining weight. Furthermore, underlying health issues such as arthritis and diabetes can make it difficult for older pets to exercise, exacerbating the problem.

The Risks of Obesity in Older Pets

Decreased Quality of Life: Obesity in older pets can significantly reduce their overall quality of life. It often leads to a lack of energy, making them less inclined to engage in physical activities or play, which are essential for mental and physical stimulation.

Arthritis and Joint Pain: Obesity places additional strain on a pet's joints and exacerbates conditions like arthritis. The added weight makes it even more challenging for older pets to move comfortably and without pain.

Heart and Respiratory Problems: Older pets are more susceptible to heart and respiratory issues, and obesity only increases the risk. The excess fat can put pressure on the heart, making it work harder to pump blood, leading to conditions like congestive heart failure.

Diabetes: Obesity is a significant risk factor for diabetes in pets. Older pets already have a higher likelihood of developing diabetes, and being overweight or obese only compounds this risk.

Weakened Immune System: An overweight pet may have a weakened immune system, making them more susceptible to various illnesses and infections.

Identifying the Causes of Obesity in Older Pets

Understanding the causes of obesity in older pets is crucial for prevention:

Lack of Exercise: As pets age, their activity levels often decrease. It's essential to adapt their exercise routine to their changing needs, providing low-impact activities to keep them moving and maintain a healthy weight.

Poor Diet: Older pets may require different types of food to meet their changing nutritional needs. Consult with your veterinarian to ensure your pet is on an appropriate diet.

Overfeeding and Treats: It's easy to indulge our older pets with treats, but overfeeding or providing excessive treats can lead to weight gain. Be mindful of portion sizes and treat frequency.

Medical Conditions: Certain medical conditions can contribute to weight gain, such as hypothyroidism. If you suspect an underlying medical issue, consult your veterinarian for a proper diagnosis and treatment plan.

Preventing Obesity in Older Pets

Preventing obesity in older pets requires a proactive approach:

Consult Your Veterinarian: Regular check-ups are essential for monitoring your pet's weight and overall health. Your vet can offer guidance on the appropriate diet and exercise regimen for your ageing pet.

Balanced Diet: Ensure your pet is on a balanced diet that meets their specific nutritional needs. Senior pet food formulations are available and may be better suited for older animals.

Portion Control: Measure your pet's food portions and limit treats to maintain a healthy weight. Treats should be used sparingly and be in line with your pet's dietary requirements.

Regular Exercise: Adjust your pet's exercise routine to their age and physical condition. Gentle, low-impact exercises like short walks or swimming can help keep them active without causing strain.

Weight Monitoring: Keep an eye on your pet's weight and body condition score. If you notice any significant changes, consult your veterinarian promptly.


As we observe Pet Obesity Day in 2023, it's essential for pet owners to recognise the specific risks and challenges that older pets face when it comes to obesity. By understanding the causes, risks, and preventive measures, we can ensure that our senior pets enjoy their golden years with good health and a high quality of life. Consult your veterinarian for guidance tailored to your pet's unique needs and make a commitment to provide them with the care and attention they deserve in their later years. Together, we can combat pet obesity and help our beloved pets live long, happy, and healthy lives.


bottom of page