Fifty-four percent of dogs and cats are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. That’s 93 million dogs and cats, if their estimate is accurate. Excess weight can shorten a pet’s life by 2.5 years said a veterinarian who works in North Carolina. Diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, arthritis and some cancers are related to excessive weight in dogs and cats.
One of the reasons dogs become overweight is that people feed them table scraps and junk food. Also dog treats are given too often. “No one would sit down and drink six sodas at one time, yet that’s exactly what we’re doing when we give our pets these snacks. Even a single, small dog bone treat given to a 10-pound dog is no different than a person eating two chocolate doughnuts. The truth is, we rarely stop at one dog treat. Give a few each day and you’ve fed the equivalent of a dozen doughnuts, ” said pet health researcher Dr. Ernie Ward. (Source: Pet Obesity Prevention) He also said the number one threat to pet health is excess weight.
Is it a mystery why so many American pets are overweight? Not really – the pets aren’t feeding themselves. Clearly people are overfeeding their own pets. But why? Is it the general culture of overeating and overconsumption influencing people to overfeed their animals? Or is more that sedentary people who also overeat don’t exercise their pets enough, and overfeed them?
“Pet obesity begins with excessive kindness. Food is the primary way some pet owners demonstrate love to their pet. When dog treats and table scraps become signs of affection or behavioral tools, it becomes difficult to effectively regulate a pet’s diet,” sad a vet who works in the pet health insurance industry. (Source PRnewswire.com)
About two-thirds of adult Americans are obese or overweight, so the percentage of people who are overweight is actually greater than the number of pets, but there is a parallel.
Image Credit: Ellen Levy Finch (Elf) / Wiki Commons