Fluffy or fat? How to help your pet lose weight if needed

By IVANHOE

ORLANDO, Fla. - The CDC says that 71 percent of American adults are overweight or obese, and it looks like it’s rubbing off on our pets! According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 56 percent of dogs and 60 percent of cats are overweight.

A recent New York Times article reported that veterinarians said nearly half of the dogs they see are overweight or obese, with other vets saying it’s even more.

“Most of the animals coming in, probably about 80% are at least a little bit overweight,” Caitrine Hellenga DVM, medical director of Winter Park Veterinary, said.

Check the American Kennel Club’s breed weight chart to see how much your dog should weigh and weigh them often. The guidelines on many pet food labels are on the high side, so it’s better to judge the amount you feed on whether your animal is gaining or losing weight.

“First step is to actually measure how much you’re feeding and then cut that back, it depends on how overweight they are, probably about 25 percent on average,” Hellenga said. 

Consider switching to a lower calorie food brand designed for weight loss; make sure they get exercise every day, but ease into the regimen,

“You don’t want to see weight loss that’s too dramatic, so a dog that’s 50 pounds if you got one or two pounds off the first month that’s good,” she said.

And good means a longer, happier life for you and your pet.

Even though vets said at least 50 percent of the animals they saw were overweight, only 17 percent of owners acknowledged their pet was fat. And Nationwide Insurance said that obesity-related veterinary insurance claims exceeded 69 million dollars in 2017. By the way, a recent survey in the Washington Post said that dog owners are about twice as likely as cat owners to say they are very happy. 

Sources: nytimes.com/2019/02/04/well/family/time-to-put-fluffy-and-fido-on-a-diet.htmlAKC.org/expert-advice/nutrition/breed-weight-chart/CDC.gov/nchs/fastats/obesity-overweight.htm

Contributor(s) to this news report include: Hayley Hudson, Writer and Roque Correa, Editor.

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