About 89 million American pets are overweight or obese says the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Their weight problems put them at risk of diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and other diseases.
The association’s website has an animal weight to human weight translator. They say a 12 pound Yorkie is the same as a human female weighing 218 pounds. A female golden retriever weighing 84 pounds would be like a human male five feet and nine inches tall weighing 218 pounds. A pug weighing 28 pounds would be like a five-foot-four-inch woman weighing 226 pounds. It is tragic that many American pets are overweight to the point of a potential life-threatening disease.
Some pet owners may not be aware how overweight their pet is and believe they are showing love or affection to their animal by feeding it too much.
Some pet treats contain too many calories, just like human snack foods. According to their chart, a large Busy Bone Chew dental treat has 600 calories, but for some very small dogs that could be more calories than they need for an entire day. For others it could be half of their daily calories, and not merely a snack. Even Small Chew-eez Beefhide Rolls, w/Tasty Middles have 171 calories. For a ten pound dog, that could nearly be one meal.
If a dog is given a well-balanced diet, why should snacks be needed? Perhaps the answer lies in the fact they exist to make profits for pet food companies. Sales of pet treats has been estimated at about $2 billion for 2010 in America.
Sugar has been added to a number of pet treats, and sugar is additional calories. They are also empty calories as they contain no nutrients. Furthermore, eating sugar regularly can affect pet behavior. “Numerous studies in rats demonstrate that overfeeding sugar can create symptoms similar to drug addiction. A dog’s daily sweet treat may be contributing to overeating and other undesirable behaviors. This is why I call today’s high-sugar treats kibble crack,’” said veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward. (Source: petobesityprevention.com)
Pet obesity is now enough of a problem there is an annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. It was October 13th.
Image Credit: Ellen Levy Finch