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Tips for Fighting Pet Obesity

Posted by SusanStokes on July 25, 2019

New statistics have been released about the rise in pet obesity. According to Dr. Allison Wara in a press release, pet obesity is on the rise in North America with approximately 60% of cats and 56% of dogs being overweight or obese. This is a condition that goes largely overlooked by most pet owners. This tendency to underestimate a pet's body condition allows the disease to progress unseen, free to continue its deadly, life-shortening work. Dr. Wara is a veterinarian and a board certified clinical nutritionist with ROYAL CANIN® Canada.

Dr. Wara had this to say, "New research from the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and the University of Liverpool shows that overweight dogs are more likely to have shortened life spans, compared to dogs at ideal body condition. And we're even seeing this in puppies; at six months old, 21% of puppies are already overweight."

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The good news, says Dr. Wara, is that this is a trend we can change, and that pet owners can increase the odds of their pets having a long and healthy life. Following is what Dr. Wara recommends:

  1. Know what healthy weight looks like. Check out the puppy growth charts developed by the Waltham Centre for Pet Nutrition and get a clear understanding of body condition at an early age.
  2. Use a gram scale. Measuring pet food with a gram scale is far more accurate than a measuring cup. In fact, a standard measuring cup can result in overestimating portions by as much as 80%.
  3. Consider a weight loss diet. Veterinary therapeutic weight loss formulations are enhanced with essential nutrients, and while they restrict calories, they ensure appropriate nutrition. Your vet can guide you to a suitable diet.
  4.  Limit the treats. Keeping treats to less than 10% of your pet's calorie intake for the day means a reduced risk of weight gain, and safeguards against an unbalanced feeding plan. "Treats" include all snacks, training treats, supplements, and foods used to administer medications.
  5. Reward with affection. If your pet is begging, consider an alternative to food such as affection or playtime. A recent fMRI study of dogs reacting to various rewards showed that social interaction was at least as rewarding as food.

Hope these tips help you enjoy a long, happy and healthy relationship with your pet!

Susan, Taurus and Gemini