Increasing Pet Obesity in the U.S.

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Since 2007, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found the percentage of obese and overweight pets in the United States has been steadily on the rise. Statistics from the 2012 National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Study showed approximately 53% of cats and 55% of dogs were overweight or obese. Nationwide, that means 88.4 million pets are too heavy.

Dr. Ernie Ward, APOP founder, said that the most one of the most discouraging facts is that pet owners are not realizing that their pet is overweight. He said, “22 percent of dog owners and 15 percent of cat owners classified their pet as normal weight when it was actually overweight or obese.” The normalization of obesity in pets is what Dr. Ward refers to as the “fat pet gap,” and is becoming an increasingly significant issue.

Carrying excess weight is a health issue that can lead to serious health problems. For example, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems, kidney disease, and shortened life expectancy are all related to being overweight or obese. Many costly joint-related surgeries can be avoided if pets are able to maintain a normal weight. Aging pets can also benefit from being lean. As pets age, being overweight or obese can lead to severe joint pain and arthritic crippling. Proper diet and exercise can ease some of this age-related pain.

This year, Veazie Vet is hosting its second annual Biggest Loser Contest. This is a chance for overweight or obese pets to shed some extra pounds! Beginning January 15th, we will be setting up nutritional consultations to meet with you and your pet to discuss nutritional needs, goals, and a weight loss plan. The official competition begins February 1st and ends March 31st.

Dogs and cats are welcome to participate. Contestants have the option to switch to Purina’s OM diet, but is not mandatory. Purina is the sponsor for this contest, and will also be providing the top three weight loss winners with prizes. If you are interested in joining, call us at 941-8840.

If you want to know more about your pet’s ideal weight, visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and use the pet weight/treat calculator!

Online Resource: Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 2013

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is a group of veterinarians and veterinary healthcare personnel who dedicate themselves to creating awareness for pet obesity and its risks. Their goal is to make the lives of dogs, cats, all other animals and people healthier and more vital.

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