Our Portly Pets: Obesity Epidemic Reaches Pets

ask a vet, what should my dog eat to lose weight, fat dogAs the holidays are upon us, many of us will find ourselves packing on some extra padding around our midsections as we go back for seconds, thirds, and midnight snacks. Before sharing these multiple meals with your beloved four-legged kiddos, think about this number: about half of the U.S.A.’s dogs and cats are overweight.

The obesity epidemic, especially in America, does not just affect over-fed owners, but now more than ever effects our pets.  The reasons, however,  are the same.

Increased food intake

Unhealthy food choices

Convenient fast food.

As if this weren’t enough to pop the button on our pants, we demand more escalators and moving walkways, thereby become less physically active bordering on lazy.

ask a vet, ask a vet online, is my dog overweight, dog health problemsFollowing hand in hand with our rear ends resting more on the couch, it is likely that your pooch is resting idly as well, either on the sofa with you or at your feet. Our pets suffer the same negative consequences of obesity as people are.

Among the list of diseases that can result from obesity, not just in people, but yes in Fido as well?
ask a vet, ask a vet online, dog health symptoms

Now, I don’t think pet owners wish any single one of these diseases on their pets, so why are we continually delivering more and more fatty treats to Fido’s dish?

Why, our of love of course! We still operate with a “food is love” philosophy, so it really is natural to plump up our pets as much as possible.

But natural isn’t logical or wise in this case. As the number of overweight pets in the USA has reached some 90 million according to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, more pet owners are burdened with high pet medical bills.

ask a vet, cat health problems, dog health problems
“Who you calling fat?”

Osteoarthritis, associated blood-work and radiographs, and expensive designer arthritis drugs have become a pretty regular cushion in the veterinarian’s wallet. Not to mention, a cause for euthanasia when the pet owner has no foods and the pet is so arthritic their quality of life is shot and they are suffering.

Pet food instructions on feeding aren’t helping Fido’s rolls any. Even weight management foods grossly overestimate the amount of food needed, and would actually encourage weight gain if followed by the owners!

This holiday, consider the amount of food you are sharing with your pet and the damage excess weight could do to their health. For vet-approved sweets and treats to share–in moderation of course, read here. Not sure if your pet is overweight, or need advice on an appropriate weight loss plan for your pooch? Ask a vet. Check out our pet nutrition consultation where you can upload pictures of your pet and ask a vet.  Our veterinarians will customize a safe dog weight loss or cat weight loss plan to get you on the right start for your beloved pet.

What’s your take? Are we killing our pets with too much love?

Dr. Laci


Dr. Laci Nash Schaible, DVM

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One Comment

April 24, 2011 at 10:50

I’m really enjoying your blog, honestly, it’s amazing. So happy I found it, I honestly can’t stop checking for updates! Thank you, and keep up the hard work! :D