October 2nd is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. Did you know that more than 50% of pets in the United States are overweight? Pet Obesity is a growing problem and is becoming an epidemic. Unfortunately, many pet owners don’t recognize that their pet is overweight. This week’s blog will help you determine if your pet is overweight.
Research from Purina has proven that overweight pets live an average of 2 years less than those of normal weight. This fact alone should be motivation enough to get your pet to lose weight. But if that’s not enough, pet obesity also predisposes your pets to many preventable diseases.
Pet Obesity puts your pet at risk for these diseases:
- High blood pressure
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
- Cranial cruciate ligament injury
- Kidney disease
Three techniques to check your pet’s weight:
- Rib check: You should be able to feel your pet’s ribs.
- Profile check: Look at your pet from the side. The abdomen should be tucked up behind the rib cage.
- Overhead check: Look at your pet from up above. You should see a thinning of the waist behind the ribs. An hourglass figure is ideal.
Dr. Anna Coffin believes that a big part of pet obesity is due to people feeding their pets human foods. Compared to pet food, human food is high in fat and contains more calories than you would expect. Check out these snack equivalents:
10-pound cat vs. average person:
- One ounce of cheddar cheese is the equivalent of a person eating 3 ½ hamburgers or 4 chocolate bars
- One cup of milk is the equivalent of a person eating 4 ½ hamburgers or 5 chocolate bars
20-pound dog vs. average person:
- One ounce of cheddar cheese is the equivalent of a person eating 2 ½ hamburgers or 5 chocolate bars.
- One small oatmeal cookie is the equivalent of a person eating 1 hamburger or 2 chocolate bars.
Dr. Anna Coffin and the staff at Guthrie Pet Hospital are happy to help you determine if your pet is overweight. Your pet will most likely lose weight just by discontinuing human food and measuring out your pet’s daily food intake. Contact us for a nutritional consultation; we can help you determine what to feed and how much to feed for your pet to be a perfect weight.