Pleasantly plump or a health risk?
As with the humans in this country, our pets have been gradually packing on the pounds and unfortunately, this can have some serious consequences.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of adult dogs and 55% of cats in the US are obese or overweight (2015 data).
Unfortunately, what we thing of as a normal healthy body weight is adjusting to the predominantly overweight population. 2015 data shows that 22% of dog owners and 15% of cat owners said their pet’s weight was normal when it was actually overweight or obese. If your pet is overweight or obese, it can cause arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney disease, certain cancers, heart and respiratory disease, and other problems.
According to the Purina Lifespan Study, obesity takes almost two years off a dog’s life.
How do we help?
If you are concerned about your pet’s weight and healthy, a routine physical exam with your family veterinarian is a good place to start. Baseline blood tests can help look for thyroid or other health concerns that can contribute to obesity in pets. An individualized nutrition plan that is tailored to both you and your pets feeding preferences can be discussed with recheck weight milestones established.
Cats generally do better on low carb canned food options with reasonable portion control. Dogs can also benefit from this feeding style, but since their lifestyle activities can vary so greatly, it is worth a discussion.