Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Fat on your dog: Scary new numbers

We skipped E in the A-Z Challenge because we had some technical issues. But we are back on F, with hopefully no more troubles.

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!

The 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.

The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention has 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 
How about Beggin' Strips?
  • Bacon: 30
  • Cheese and Bacon: 30
  • Beef and Bacon: 30
Snausages? 25 calories

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.

 There are also some great low-calorie treats out there.

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!


  1. I really enjoyed reading your article. Thanks for sharing.

  2. I never realized how many calories were in some of those dog treats. Looks like I'll be staying with regular Milk-Bone since they are the lowest. I also give my two Shelties green beans, both as a treat and mixed in with their dry food. The vet told me to use them because they are loaded with fiber and make the dog feel fuller, while helping to control the weight. I rinse them first to remove most of the salt.


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