Last February we reported that 21 percent of American pets are obese, but it seems that the numbers are quite a bit larger: according to the American Veterinary Medical Association, an enormous 40 percent of all dogs and cats in America are overweight.
That’s right: it’s bad enough that around 30 percent of adults in the U.S. are obese, but now their pets are suffering from weight issues too.
Obesity is one of the most common preventable health problems in pets, so why is this happening?
While veterinarians are increasingly aware of this problem, a survey done by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) shows that pet owners don’t even realize that their pets are overweight.
“22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners characterized their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese,” said Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of APOP. “This is what I refer to as the “fat pet gap” or the normalization of obesity by pet parents. In simplest terms, we’ve made fat pets the new normal.”
Pet obesity may in fact be largely due to the ignorance of pet owners, so what can they do to keep their pets trim and healthy?
One Green Planet has a few suggestions:
Read Food Labels to look for brands that use healthy ingredients.
Exercise With Your Pet, since pets as well as humans need exercise to stimulate their senses, keep their bodies healthy, and create a healthy outlet to get rid of stress; plus it will strengthen the owner-pet bond.
Restrict Food Intake: Most pets know when to stop, but if your pet seems to overeat, cut back on the amount you give him or split his meals throughout the day to keep him full.
Monitor her weight, especially if your vet has expressed concern with your pet’s health; if you’re doing all of the above and your pet is still gaining weight, it could be due to underlying health issues, so check in with your vet to make sure everything’s normal.
Let’s be sure to get the best care for the animals we love!
Photo Credit: Ian & Julia