Overeating is a dangerous problem for people around the world. Unfortunately, our unhealthy habits are starting to affect our furry friends.
In America, there are 165 million owned cats and dogs. CNN and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention state that 55 percent of adult cats and 53 percent of adult dogs in America are overweight or obese, that’s nearly 47 million cats and 41 million dogs. And most of these pets weigh 30 percent more than they should.
An unhealthy weight can cause cats and dogs medical issues similar to humans. They commonly have ailments like asthma, arthritis, back problems, cancer, diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney failure, liver inflammation and orthopedic problems. Obesity may also shorten the lifespan of pets by up to 2 ½ years.
An obese pet can also cause financial strains too. A survey showed that owners of diabetic cats and dogs paid $900 for veterinary care per year. Owners of arthritic pets paid $2,000 for care. Veterinary Pet Insurance says that in 2011 1.1 million claims were filed due to weight-related problems. And it cost more than $28 million.
Many factors cause animal obesity. Most get too much food and little exercise. There’s also a growing “fat pet gap” in which pet owners seem unaware that they’re contributing to their pet’s bad health or unwilling to admit it because it reflects their own health issues. In fact, in a survey “22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners thought their pets were healthy when in fact they were overweight or obese.”
So, do you need to reduce the weight of a pet? Here are some tips:
- Talk to your vet. Before you start any weight loss program for your pet it’s important to consult with your vet first. They can give your vital advice about food, exercise and other tips you may need.
- Monitor their food. Check the nutritional value and ingredients on your pet’s food label. Give up on treats for your dog’s tricks; give praise and affection instead.
- Exercise. According to reports dogs need a one 30 minute brisk walk every day. Cats have bursts of energy, so plan fun, active games with them a few times a day.
- Improve your health too. If you’re a couch potato your dog will be too. So help your pets by being more active.