Says a 2019 study, up to 59% of dogs and cats in the world are overweight. In fact, pet obesity is now described as an epidemic. Approximately 21% of dogs are already overweight by 6 months of age. Obesity can reduce your pet’s life expectancy, impact their quality of life, and put them at risk of respiratory, cardiovascular and renal disease, and place a significant financial burden on you. Here are a few facts on why, the world over, pets are gaining weight:
- Your ownership style affects your pet’s weight directly. Pets are often looked at as child substitutes and treated with indulgence, including treats given often.
- Overweight people are more likely to own overweight dogs. A dog’s table food intake is a reflection of the owner’s intake.
- Pet food labels are often confusing and owners find it difficult to compare brands to feed right.
- Dog owners can easily overfeed their animals if they don’t measure out portions correctly, putting their pets at risk of obesity. It’s best to use a kitchen scale to weigh out portions.
- Lean dogs get significantly more crude fibre in their food as compared to overweight dogs, regardless of the number of treats they receive.
- Placing a dog on a weight loss diet can result in increased begging or scavenging for food. Many dog parents give in.
- As with human weight loss, dog parents have to develop strategies that will promote sustained weight loss in the obese pet. This can become a challenge.
Most people want their pets to be happy and healthy and if we keep our pets’ weights in control, we improve their chances of living long and full lives.