Pet obesity is a huge problem in this country. In fact, according to the Pet Obesity Prevention Association, over half of all dogs and cats are considered to be overweight or obese. That's a huge percentage! Purina believes that knowledge and the right food are the keys to addressing this nationwide epidemic.
Pet Obesity Facts
Overweight pets are far too common in our country, and part of the problem is that many people don't realize that their pets are overweight or how overweight they are. A lot of people also just don't realize what being overweight can do to their pets...I used to think it was really cute that our cats were fat, I mean, of course fat cats are adorable! BUT, as our new veterinarian told me during our last visit, fat cats are more likely to suffer from a variety of health ailments, just as I would be if I were overweight. I love my pets dearly, and the last thing I want is to see my fur babies suffer from something that could be easily prevented just by watching their diet.
With that being said, let's take a look at this growing problem.
First things first. Is your dog or cat obese? It's really easy to tell. Just give them the rib check. The rib check is easy to do and is a perfect gauge for testing obesity. You should be able to just feel the ribs of your dog or cat under their muscle. If you can't feel their ribs, they're overweight. Unfortunately...when I did the rib check on our pets...the verdict came in: OVERWEIGHT. All this time when I thought that Bailey and Toby were just super duper fluffy? Nope. They're fat. SO FAT.
Consequences of Obesity in Pets
Being obese isn't cute. If your dog or cat is a barrel with legs, they are more likely to die younger and are more prone to certain disease. In fact, both dogs and cats which are obese are more prone to cancer, diabetes, and joint and tendon issues. It's also been found that dogs and cats at ideal weight live longer, healthier lives than obese pets.
A 14 year study by Purina actually showed that dogs at their ideal weight lived an average of 1.8 years longer. The study also showed that while all the dogs in the study developed pretty much the same chronic issues as they aged, the dogs at ideal weight had a delayed need for treatment by two years.
Preventing Pet Obesity
Purina knows the importance of our pets being at their ideal weights. That's why they've put out some guidelines to help keep our pets at their ideal weights. They also have Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management formulas to help prevent or reverse pet obesity. If your pet is a tub, here are some things you can do to help remedy that condition, courtesy of Purina.
Follow a Nutrition Plan
Whether you have a dog or a cat, a nutrition plan is key. Your pet needs proper nutrition in the proper amounts. So stop giving your dog or cat table food, and switch them to a nutritious weight management food like OM. Feed your pet the recommended amount on the package, watching their weight and body composition carefully and adjusting the food amount up or down depending on their progress.
Don't just fill up your pet's bowl at each feeding. Instead measure out the food to ensure that your dog or cat is getting the accurate amount of food. You can take the total allotted amount of food for the day and break it up into 3 feedings to help keep your pet satisfied through the day.
Pet obesity thrives on treats. The treats that we all love to give our dogs and cats are generally packed with far more calories than we realize. Try giving your dog or cat a piece of their kibble as a treat instead or give them 1 treat instead of 3.
Like humans, the cure for pet obesity is calories in and calories out. In addition to measuring and feeding the correct amount of Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management formulas, get your dog and cat playing. Of course, your dog will always be willing to go play fetch in the back yard, but your cat... Well, do the best you can. Pro tip: Cat's can't say no to laser pointers.
Purina Puts the Smack on Pet Obesity
Pet obesity is an epidemic in this country, but we can all conquer it. Even if your dog or cat is overweight, you can still get them back into fighting shape. If you measure out their food, get them moving, and feed them Purina® Pro Plan® Veterinary Diets OM Overweight Management formulas. These foods have been specially formulated to help get pets to their ideal weight and keep them there.
For more information on pet obesity, visit the Fighting Pet Obesity website. You can also get more information when you like Purina on Facebook and follow Purina on Twitter.
Two of our cats are overweight and we use the Purina OM for cats. They seem to like it.
Thanks for sharing this! I have two chunky cats and I didn't realize all the health problems that came along with them being overweight.
My dog is looking a little pudgy…definitely not ready for swimsuit season! I hadn't considered how the extra pounds were limiting her life expectancy. Need to implement these tips.
I am happy that my dog prefers toys over treats so he stays slim. It's harder with cats because they are so lazy!
valmg @ Mom Knows It All
Our 2 year old puppy is very lean. Our 5 year old cat is very muscular, but is starting to develop a bit of a paunch I think.