Obesity in Pets
In the United States of America today an estimated 52.7% of dogs are obese or overweight. This is an estimated 83 million dogs throughout the US. An estimated 60% of cats are obese or overweight, making this an estimation of 55 million cats. More than half the dog and cat population in the US today are struggling with obesity.
Yikes! What contributes to the extra lbs? Obesity is defined by excess body weight. Sometimes certain breeds may be more at risk than others, and lifestyle and diet plays a big role. Obesity can cause serious health issues, affecting bones and joints, digestive organs. Obesity is common in dogs that are middle age and older (ages 5 ad up). Some common causes include a decrease in ability to get out there and exercise, a high caloric intake, and extra treats. (Boy, do we love the extra treats at our house).
Fortunately, extra attention to exercise and diet might get the ball rolling. Consult with your vet for a diet plan and make sure to weigh your pet on a regular basis. Sometimes, it might not be the food you are feeding your pet but the additional snacks and treats you offer. Controlling your pet’s portions of food is one way to jump start your weight loss program, another way is to start keeping a food log of the extra treats. Diets that are rich in protein, low in carbs or grain free might be a option as well.
Also, check with your veterinarian to make sure your pet is in at risk for hypothyroidism or hyperthyroidism, which can cause extra weight gain or decrease in weight.
Last but not least, regular exercise is important along with maintaining a healthy diet. If your pet has a more serious case of pet obesity then do not hesitate to contact your vet for advice. Here’s to a healthy 2016 for you and your pet. If you need inspiration, check out the UK’s Biggest Loser for Pets here.