Is Your Pet Overweight? Today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

October 8th, 2014 by Daniel Mudrick

We understand. It’s so easy to give your furry family member treats, food from the table, and extra food. They get so excited at the prospect, and you love seeing them so happy.

Unfortunately, all of this extra food comes at a price. Your pet may start packing on extra pounds.

Many people aren’t aware of the appropriate amount of food to feed their pets in a day. After all, it can depend on several factors, such as age, breed, and typical level of activity. It can get overwhelming if you don’t have someone to give you professional advice.

 However, proper nutrition is important for maximizing your pet’s wellness and health.

Animal Obesity 3Cat and Dog Obesity Statistics

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2013 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey provides some sobering statistics about pet obesity.

While these numbers are reflective of pets in the United States, we can use this insight to make some educated assumptions about the situation here in Canada.

  • An estimated 52.6% of dogs are overweight or obese
  • An estimated 57.6% of cats are overweight or obese

Over half of cats and dogs are overweight or obese! And this condition has serious long term health effects for these pets.

Pet Obesity Health Risks

When your cat or dog is overweight or obese, they are extremely likely to develop a health condition due to their weight problems. It is simply a matter of which condition(s), when, and to what degree.

Here are just some of the possible health outcomes that can be influenced by obesity in cats and dogs:

  • Lower resistance to infection
  • Arthritis
  • Spinal disc problems
  • Torn knee ligaments
  • Insulin resistance and Type 2 diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Heart disease and congestive heart failure
  • Reduced lung, liver, and kidney function
  • Increased cancer rate (50% higher incidence of cancer in overweight dogs compared to healthy dogs)
  • Decreased life expectancy
  • Decreased ability to exercise, furthering the overweight problem
  • And so on…

But There’s Good News!

Canadian veterinarians have identified weight control and management as the number one thing pet owners can do to keep their pets healthy and increase their lifespans.

That means that you have the power to improve the quality and length of your pet’s life, simply by engaging in weight control tactics.

Animal ObesityHow You Can Control Your Pet’s Weight

The basic recommendations for pet weight loss are just as they are for us: proper diet (that includes no overfeeding!) and exercise.

Ideal exercise for dogs is leash walks, not ball or Frisbee.  The start, stop, twist, and turn will make a knee ligament rupture much more likely to occur.

Here are some more specific recommendations from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention:

pdf-logoClick here to download a great worksheet on weight loss for cats.

pdf-logoClick here to download a great worksheet on weight loss for dogs.

Of course, you should speak with your veterinarian for specific instructions. Your vet will be able to discuss your individual pet’s ideal weight and recommend the things you need to do to help get them there.  Your vet will also know your pet’s health history, making their recommendations unique to you. You can come in monthly for regular weigh-ins, at no charge, to ensure success.

Obesity impacts your pet’s health and happiness. Improve their quality of life and the quality of your time with them by helping them maintain their weight at a healthy level.

>> Talk to us about how to keep your pet fit and healthy! Book an appointment now.

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About Daniel Mudrick

I'm the owner and founder of Clarkson Village Animal Hospital, a state-of-the-art veterinary hospital that's open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. Clarkson Village Animal Hospital has always been a dream of mine, and by caring for one patient at a time, the hospital has continued to grow. During those rare times when I'm not at the hospital, I'm at yoga, hiking, gardening, and spending time with my family. I also enjoy reading to stay current on the most recent advances in veterinary medicine.

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