Facts About Pet Obesity and Tips for Prevention

Banfield Pet Hospital recently released a report showing that there has been a widespread increase in the number of pets in the US that are overweight. One in three pets that visited the hospital in 2016 were diagnosed as overweight or obese. 

So, what are the results of this increase in obesity in pets?

Overweight dogs are much more likely to have chronic conditions such as arthritis and tracheal collapse. Pet owners of overweight pets pay 17% more in health care costs and 25% more in medications. Costs of vet care and due to complications from obesity are sky-rocketing. 

How can I tell if my pet is overweight?

There are several online sources that will give you a good idea of whether or not your pet is overweight. A dog, at an ideal weight, should have an obvious waistline and ribs that can be easily felt. If your dog's ribs cannot be easily felt or if you can not tell where their waistline is, then they are likely overweight or obese. 

Prevention

Obesity in pets can be improved with proper nutrition and exercise. Make sure you are feeding your pets the proper diet. Banfield also provides a nutritional calculator online for cats and dogs that will give you an idea of how many calories your dog should be consuming daily. You can use the calculator online at http://www.banfield.com/pet-healthcare/pet-healthcare-resources/nutrition. Make sure you calculate your pets' treats into their daily calorie count as well.

Exercise is important for all pets. If you don't have time to walk your dog every day, get them interactive toys to keep them busy and moving during the day while you're at work. If you have a cat, consider getting a laser pointer or feather teaser to keep them entertained and busy. Feeding your dog healthy treats or premium dog treats can have a big impact as well. It's extremely important to remember that dog treats should make up no more than 10% of your dog's daily caloric intake and make sure you're not overfeeding.