Obesity is a HUGE problem in our country and it’s not just exclusive to people. In the U.S., it’s estimated that 57 percent of cats and 52 percent of dogs are overweight or clinically obese.
While a chubby pug or a fat cat may be adorably cute, the health consequences can be devastating for them and for you. Excess weight not only affects their quality of life, it can also make a BIG impact on your veterinary bills.
October 11th is Pet Obesity Awareness Day, so it’s a great time to learn the common causes of obesity in pets, and act before excess weight negatively impacts your pet’s health, and your heart and wallet.
So What’s Causing Pets to Get Fat?
Pet owners. When you’re busy, it’s easy to slip treats to a pet that wants your attention, or because they look so cute, sweet, sad…we all have our weak spots. If your pet learns you’ll reward them for a particular behavior, they’ll work it.
Yes, this means overfeeding is one of the main culprits – but it’s not just treat-based. Many people simply fill their pet’s bowl with food without thinking about the calories. Always use a measuring cup and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for weight, age and activity levels.
Lack of exercise is another issue – make sure your dog gets walks regularly (it’s good for you both) and that both cats and dogs get plenty of play time and activities to keep them moving. Even cats can be trained to walk on a leash – why not give it a try?
It’s our job as pet parents to take care of our furry friends. Obesity in pets is not always due too many treats and too little exercise. Just as in humans, underlying health issues like diabetes, thyroid or adrenal disorders can also cause weight gain in animals. If your pet is gaining weight, or already overweight or obese, it’s time to schedule a visit to the vet!
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s pet weight translator:
• A Yorkie weighting 12 pounds is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds!
• A cat weighing 14 pounds is equivalent to a 237 pound man!
• A 90 pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186 pound 5’ 4” female or 217 pound 5’ 9” male!
• A fluffy feline weighing 15 pounds (DSH) is equal to a 218 pound 5’ 4” female or 254 pound 5’ 9” male!
Check out your pet’s weight equivalent by breed, age and gender here to see if they are at a healthy weight or need to lose weight:
Bottom line: Obesity can take years off of your pet’s life – and it’s up to you to do something. Check out the guidelines in the link above, and schedule regular health check-ups.