Being overweight isn't healthy for anyone, but for animals, carrying just a few extra pounds can have serious effects on their well-being.
While giving our little buddies all those extra treats seems like a nice thing to do in the moment, we don't often think about the fact that we could be shaving years off their lives. Exercise intolerance, heat intolerance, breathing difficulties, hypertension, diabetes, liver disease, osteoarthritis and a higher chance of developing malignant tumors are just some of the conditions that dogs or cats with excess weight have a higher risk of developing.
This all sounds pretty scary, right? Well, the good news is that with proper diet and exercise, our plump pets can slim down and enjoy much happier and healthier lives. Just check out these five obese dogs and cats who've made amazing progress in their weight loss journeys.
1. Strudel the golden retriever weighed 83 pounds at her heaviest. While that weight is normal for some dogs of this breed, Strudel's frame is smaller than others. After her owner passed away, she was placed into the care of a foster family who was committed to helping her lose the weight. She still has a way to go, but she's lost nearly 30 pounds so far!video-player-present
2. Bolinha grew up as a stray dog on the streets of Brazil, where passersby constantly fed him junk food and leftover scraps. His weight ballooned so much that he could barely move. Thanks to the pup's rescuers, though, he's shed over 30 pounds and has a new lease on life!video-player-present
3. A tiny dachshund weighing 77 pounds sounds shocking and impossible, but that was Obie's reality before he came to live with certified vet technician Nora Vanatta. After the pup's previous owners placed him into Vanatta's care, she worked hard to help him drop the pounds with a calorie-restricted diet and gradual exercise. Thanks to her dedication, the little guy has lost close to 50 pounds!video-player-present
4. When Heidi Fiore adopted Shiloh in October 2016, she knew that without serious changes in the Labrador retriever's life, he wouldn't survive long. The poor thing weighed 146 pounds. With a strict diet and exercise regimen over 11 months, however, Shiloh's down 60 pounds and doesn't struggle to simply move anymore!video-player-present
5. This kitty's name may be Tiny Tim, but before he started on his weight loss plan, he was anything but small. He tipped the scales at 35 pounds, a seriously hefty weight for cats. While like many trying to lose weight, he hit a plateau because he was "cheating", Tiny Tim got back on track and lost 25 percent of his weight. Here's hoping he's reached his goal by now!video-player-present
These inspiring animals are all proof that it's never too late to work toward being healthier. If you have an overweight pet and want to help them lose weight, make a visit to your vet. They'll be able to put your furry family members on the right path with an exercise and diet plan.