The fundamental underlying cause of obesity in all cases of obesity is an imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure that results in a persistent energy surplus. The excess energy is stored primarily as fat, resulting in weight gain and a change in body composition. Old age plays a part of the obesity problem because as an adult animal ages, lean body mass declines, resulting in a decresed total daily energy need. The loss of lean body mass is exacerbated if aging is accompanied be a decrease in voluntary activity. The total daily energy needs of an average size, 7 year old dog may decrease by as much as 20% compared to when it was a young adult. If food intake does not decrease proportionately with decreasing energy needs as an animal ages, weight gain will result.
Palatability is an important diet characteristic that is heavily promoted in the marketing of commercial pet foods. Many pet owners select a product based on their own perceptions of the food’s appeal and their pet’s acceptance of the diet, rather than on the indicators of nutritional adequacy. Feeding pets highly palatable foods on a fill the bowl basis, may contribute to the development and maintenance of obesity. Table scraps containing higher levels of fat and treats can induce many pets to overeat and gain excessive amounts of weight. The key is to balance the combination so that you maintain the controlled weight desired.
posted by Rob Mueller