The Truth About Pet Obesity

The Truth About Pet Obesity

Your pet doesn't need a personal trainer to shed those extra pounds.

Over half of all pet dogs and cats are obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. The obesity epidemic doesn’t just affect cats and dogs, either. Obesity is the number one health problem in pet birds as well as several other household pets. What’s causing this problem? Why are our pets obese? The truth is, misinformation about pets’ dietary needs is running rampant in the pet care community, and pet parents don’t know what the right choices are for their animals’ health. 

Dogs and cats are considered overweight if they are at least 10%–20% heavier than their ideal weight. Obesity can take up to two years off of a pet’s life and is associated with serious health conditions, including the following:
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Kidney disease
  • Cancers
  • Heart and respiratory disease
Over 80% of pet parents have tried to help their pet lose weight, but, of that 80%, less than 10% of those pets successfully lost weight following their obesity diagnosis. Of those, roughly 40% gained it back within 12 months. The statistics don’t look great for pets on the heavy side, but what are pet parents to do? Some say portion control is the best option, but others recommend increased exercise or fat free foods. “Prescription” foods can be way too expensive, and the latest pet food trends have been grain free diets, non GMO or “human-grade” foods, and alternative proteins. 
 
It’s been shown that portion reduction can result in malnutrition, fat free or “prescription” foods don’t always help in the case of weight loss, and there’s not enough research to determine if the latest trends in pet foods are truly healthy for your pet. Exercise is always great, but pets need ample time to rest, and some animals are sensitive to extreme temperatures and exercise conditions. The only way to help your pet stay a healthy weight is to consult your veterinarian, and to devise a structured plan. 
 
Just like humans, every animal is different. Some will thrive with more exercise and a reduced-fat diet, and some could face serious consequences of that same regimen. The best possible course of action for your pet is to get with their veterinarian and work out a weight loss plan that is tailored to their needs. It’s also essential to understand what kind of nutrition your pet needs, and to choose a food that reflects those needs.
 
At Pampered Pet Inn, we believe knowledge is power! We do our best to model our enrichment-based daycare off of dogs' natural sleep/wake cycles, and offer full and half days to fit every pet's stamina. This structure guarantees that our pampered pups get the most from their time at The Inn. When it comes to your pets' time at home, the more you know about your pet’s specific needs, the better you and your veterinarian will be able to organize a plan to keep them at a healthy weight. As always, our dedicated staff is more than happy to accommodate any special requests that you and your veterinarian deem necessary for your pet's health!