Just like humans, weight gain is often a sign that something isn’t quite right with our health – whether that be biological health or our mental health. Medical causes of weight gain are common in both pets and humans and should be explored by a veterinarian as soon as signs of weight gain are apparent. Gradual changes in weight usually don’t suggest sudden medical problems have arisen; however, any time weight gain is noticed, all medical causes should be ruled-out first to ensure your pet’s ongoing health.
In this article, we will discuss some of the possible causes of weight gain in pets, but since it is important to understand how complex our pet’s health is, we will also discuss some of the non-medical possible reasons for your pet’s weight gain as well.
Medical Causes for Weight Gain
Before you panic about your pet’s health, keep in mind that many of the medical causes for pet weight gain can be well-managed with the right treatment by a veterinarian in your area. These are some of the most common medical causes of weight gain:
Medication Side Effects
Just as in humans, certain medications can cause side effects – and weight gain is a common one. If a medication causes your pet to put on weight, there may be some solutions. Adjusting their eating and exercise habits as well as possibly switching to a different type of medication are things to discuss with your veterinarian.
Illnesses or Diseases
Staying on top of your pet’s health is important, and this includes screening for common diseases or illnesses. The two most common related to weight gain are:
Diabetes – Seen in both dogs and humans, diabetes usually has genetic roots with environmental triggers. It is best to prevent diabetes all together by monitoring your pet’s dietary and exercise routines.
Cushing’s Disease – A hormone-related disease, this usually occurs when abnormal production of hormones occurs in one of the main glandular areas like the pituitary or adrenal glands. This can be screened for with routine blood panels and urine analyses.
Another common medical cause of weight gain, parasites usually cause bloating or fluid retention, which gives the appearance of weight gain. Many parasites, particularly ones that cause weight gain, can be treated by your veterinarian. If you suspect your pet may have a parasite, you’ll want to bring your veterinarian a urine and stool sample for analysis.
Another hormone-related condition, both pets and humans are susceptible to hypothyroidism. The thyroid helps to monitor the body’s effective use of energy. If your pet’s diet and exercise routines haven’t changed, yet you’ve observed weight gain, your veterinarian will want to first rule-out thyroid-related conditions.
Other Issues That Can Cause Weight Gain
Medical issues should always be ruled out first by your veterinarian as the cause of weight gain in your pet. As we mentioned before, though medical issues can cause or precede weight gain, it’s also important to understand how your pet’s mental health or environmentally-related issues may also play a role in their weight gain. Here are some other possible causes for weight gain in your pet:
Yes, pets can become depressed too! Many of the signs of pet depression can mimic medical conditions, so it’s best to bring your pet in for medical screenings. To combat depression, it’s important to spend plenty of quality time with your pet and get them out of the house for regular exercise.
Just as humans tend to manage stress with over-eating, your pet may also. Again, regular exercise is a great way to manage your pet’s stress levels.
It can be tough to stay on top of exercise habits for ourselves, let alone for our pets. If you haven’t been able to keep up on walks or trips to the dog park, your dog might simply be taking in more calories than they’re burning.
Changes in Diet
How We Can Help You and Your Pet
The professionals here at Dr. Ron’s Animal Hospital & Emergency prioritize your pet’s health and make it their mission to keep animals Simi Valley, California, and the greater Ventura County area healthy. Since our pets can use words to communicate to us, it’s important that we observe their behaviors closely to recognize signs of medical or mental health-related concerns. If you’re concerned about your pet’s weight or changes in their behavior lately, please contact one of our helpful staff members to schedule a consultation as soon as possible.