The Pet Obesity Epidemic

Everyone knows that obesity is an issue in America, but it appears our obesity is getting so out of hand that even our pets are overweight. In fact, our pets are even more overweight than us! A study shows that 45% of domestic dogs and 58% of domestic cats are overweight in America.

Obesity is said to be the largest health threat to cats in dogs in America. Pet obesity has been on the rise for a long time. So long, in fact, that overweight pets are often identified as being a normal weight. 33% and 46% of cat parents with overweight pets incorrectly identified their pet as normal. A possible reason for the spike in overweight pets could be that owners do not properly identify what overweight for a pet means.

A few extra pounds on a cat or dog is not like a few extra pounds on a human. Each extra pound on a cat is equivalent to about 13 pounds on a human female and 15 pounds on a human male. A 15 pound cat is equivalent to a 225 pound 5’9” human male and a 20 pound cat is equivalent to that man being 300 pounds.

The main culprit in pet obesity is still “treats”.  Today’s cat and dog treats are so loaded with sugar and fat that a veterinarian, Dr. Ward, calls them “kibble crack”. Dr. Ward says giving a 40 pound dog a premium pig ear is equivalent to a human drinking 6 sodas. Veterinarians are stressing to humans that feeding pets too many treats is a serious problem.

Obesity is not always the fault of the pet parent, however. Sometimes it can not be fixed. Such as old cats with health problems who are not able to get around well to exercise. Even when the treat intake is held back from these pets, they may still face obesity. Some of the time, though, pet obesity can be controlled, and pet parents should focus on helping their pet by decreasing treats, switching to a lower fat pet food, and encouraging exercise.

There is some hope, though. 82% of pet parents agree that pet obesity is a problem. Now those people just need to recognize what obesity in pets is and get it under control.


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