Humans aren't the only ones that need to worry about obesity. Our pets do too. Dr. Larsen is in to talk about what can cause obesity in our pets and what we can do to prevent it.
What percent of the pet population is considered overweight?
50 percent of our pets are overweight, and that number continues to rise. In the last 5 years obesity in dogs has increased by 37 percent, while obesity in cats has increased by 90 percent.
What is causing our pets to gain weight?
In most cases pet owners are the main contributors in their pet's obesity. Most pet owners give their pets lots of treats and try to find the food their pet will eat best. Both the treats and the pet foods have been loaded with fats, carbohydrates and sugars to make them more palatable to our pets. The poor nutrition found in our pet's food and treats, combined with an over abundance of both, is the reason our pets are gaining weight.
Is the food or the treats our pets receive the bigger threat?
Both, when eaten in excess, will lead to weight gain. However, the treats we give our pets pack the fattest punch. Many treats sound low in calories to us humans, but to a dog or cat that 20 calorie treat is a lot. And, not only are they high in calories, but most pet owners don't stop at one or two. That adds up and leads to our pets becoming overweight.
What risks are associated with obese pets?
Pets that are overweight have hearts that have to work harder, causing stress on their hearts. They also are more likely to develop diabetes, arthritis, pancreatitis, and other health problems. This all leads to pets that might not live as long as their non-obese counterparts.
All this can be avoided just by controlling how much your pet is eating and reading the nutritional information on their food and treats.