Do You Know the Primary Cause of Pet Obesity?
March 13, 2018
The answer is pet owners. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, 73.7 percent of men in the U.S. are classified as overweight or have obesity; and approximately 66.9 percent of women are considered to be overweight or have obesity. Unfortunately, our bad human eating habits seem to be carrying over to our furry friends. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 59% of cats (50.5 million) and 54% of dogs (41.9 million) in the United States are overweight or obese. Based on our national statistics, it might be time for you and your pet to go on a diet.
"Obesity is an epidemic in the veterinary field, but the biggest barrier you’re likely to face in this battle of the bulge isn’t the pet's waistline—it's the client's perception," says Fetch dvm360 speaker* Deborah Linder, DVM, MS, DACVN, head of the Tufts Obesity Clinic for Animals in North Grafton, Massachusetts. "While more than half the cats and dogs in the United States are overweight, only half of the owners of these fat pets believe their pets are overweight and very few have a good understanding of how many calories they're feeding their pets on a daily basis."
Although you want your pets to be happy, providing too many treats or overfeeding your animals could cause them to have many of the same health conditions that plague overweight humans. Diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, and kidney disease are becoming all too prevalent - a fact that has attracted the attention of the Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM) at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In similar fashion to the USDA Food Label, the CVM is responsible for ensuring animal feed, pet food and pet treats are properly labeled with truthful claims.
If you don't know whether your dog or cat is overweight or not, the Pet Obesity Prevention website has FREE weight loss tools, such as their Pet Weight Check and Ideal Weight Ranges available for you to use. These tools should be used as a guideline and should not be considered as a replacement for a visit to speak with your pet's veterinarian. Some breeds are more prone to obesity than other breeds and neutering as well as certain medical conditions can slow an animal's metabolism. Your vet can quickly determine whether your cat or dog needs to be on diet and can advise you on both a feeding and treating schedule that will produce the best results.
*SOURCE: "When the pet is obese and the client is oblivious" by Sarah J. Wooten, DVM for DVM360 Magazine, February 13, 2018.