Did you miss National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? Don't worry, it slipped our minds too. October 9th was the 7th annual awareness day and survey, where the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) collects data from veterinarians and pet owners alike about overweight and obese pets.
Perhaps you think this doesn't apply to your pet family. Maybe your pup has a few extra pounds, but really it's more endearing than dangerous.
Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of Association for Pet Obesity Prevention explains, “The causes of pet and childhood obesity are largely the same: too many high-calorie foods and snacks combined with too little physical activity. Parents need to encourage children to put down their video games and pick up the dog leash to go for a walk. Instead of snacking on sugary treats, share crunchy vegetables with your dog. Eat more whole foods instead of highly processed fast food.”
APOP's website offers great insights and resources, like the Pet Weight Translator
. For example, did you know a 12 pound Yorkie is the same as an average female weighing 218 pounds? Puts the pounds in perspective, right?
There are numerous health risks related to weight issues, such as arthritis, back and joint problems, diabetes, and high blood pressure. These lead to medications, for example, according to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), over half of dogs (approximately 41 million) are given a joint supplement, and more veterinarian appointments. While there has not been a specific study of the cost of pet obesity, Veterinary Pet Insurance (VPI) estimates its policyholders -- which represent only 0.5% of U.S. pet owners -- spent over $28 million last year. The extra weight also affects whether harnesses fit properly, and in the event of an automotive accident, adds to the projectile force of an unsecured pet.
As the holidays, and eventually the New Year, approach, we all become more aware of the excessive feasts and treats awaiting us -- and the steps we would like to take to keep the weight off. Include your pet(s) in your diet and exercise plans this year.
Meet Lola, who has lost 7 pounds at a doggy spa focused on fitness, with an exercise pool and healthy snacks. Would you seek extra help to beat the bulge on your pet?