F is for fat. And it's a problem, not just because we have an obesity problem among pets, but because pet parents don't seem to realize it!
Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a group of vets trying to help parents
keep their dogs healthy.
This latest study was released just last month. The numbers are staggering -- 44 million dogs and 55 million cats are overweight and obesity.
But it's the fat pet gap that is the most disconcerting.
Ninety percent of overweight cat owners and 95 percent -- NINETY-FIVE PERCENT! -- of overweight dog owners say their pet is of normal weight.
Now, we have the same kind of problem with humans as well, I guess, but it's worse with dogs. Just a couple pounds in some animals is dangerous, for all the reasons that being overweight is dangerous in humans -- arthritis, cancer, diabetes (at least directly in cats, indirectly in dogs).
“We’re seeing an increasing number of obese pets and the diseases that accompany excess fat,” reports Dr. Julie Churchill, veterinary nutritionist at the University of Minnesota College of Veterinary Medicine. “Type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer are associated with obesity in animals. It is critical pet owners understand an overweight dog or cat is not a healthy pet.”
So, pet parents, here's a handy chart to help you get started on figuring out if your pet is the right weight.
special charts to help you determine your breed's ideal weight.
They also have an interesting chart that explains the calories in some of the most popular pet treats.
Here are the calorie counts for Milk Bones:
- Original: 10
- Puppy Biscuits:10
- Small Biscuits: 20
- Medium Biscuits: 40
- Large Biscuits: 115
- Extra Large Biscuits: 225
- Bacon: 30
- Cheese and Bacon: 30
- Beef and Bacon: 30
Busy bones? A whopping 300 calories for a small/medium bone!
But you could try something else -- veggies for instance are great for dogs. So are fruit.
Here's something else. If you are giving your dogs treats, you should also consider how much food you give your dog. If you're going to do a training day, for instance, with lots of high value treats, you might want to give you dog less food.
And don't forget exercise. Not just a brief walk. It's good for you too!