According to a 2012 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. That equals 88.4 million pets!
Obesity in pets is no joke. Just like in humans, it can cause a host of health issues, including respiratory distress, orthopedic problems and arthritis, and has been shown to make dogs more prone to diabetes and compromised immune systems.
So how do you know if your dog is overweight? And what can you do to help your portly friend? Read on!
- When determining if your pet needs to shed a few LBs, ask yourself: Does he bulge at the waist? You should be able to feel, but not see, your dog’s ribs and spine
- Talk to your vet! Certain health conditions—such as a low thyroid level and other hormonal imbalances—can cause weight gain in dogs.
- One of the most important steps for controlling your dog’s weight is to cut out the treats and snacks. Exercise can only accomplish so much if your pet is taking in too many calories between meals.
“If you feel you must give your dog treats, choose low-calorie options such as veggies or a piece of rice cake,” recommends the ASPCA’s Dr. Louise Murray, author of Vet Confidential. “Decide how many treats your dog will get each day, and…make sure everyone in the family understands the plan and agrees with it.”