Traci Wilkerson Steckel
Pet Obesity Awareness
Updated: Dec 11, 2020
Approximately 60% of cats and 60% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. What does this mean for your pets? It means an increase in health issues, which will surely increase their chances of early death, but you probably already knew this if you saw our recent post about Walk Your Dog Week. We at Traci’s Paws want you to be in the know of what this means and how you can get your pets back to good health or prevent obesity altogether.
Pet Obesity. So, how bad is it? Let’s break it down.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2018*, 59.5% of cats in the United States were overweight or obese. Cats that are overweight are at greater risk of having health issues like chronic inflammation, kidney dysfunction, respiratory disorders, metabolic & endocrine disorders, cancer, orthopedic disease, and skin disorders, resulting in diminished quality of life and a reduced life expectancy. We know this as our very own girl Tabitha Ann was rather hefty and even in a Fat Cat Contest for a short time until our founder got her weight under control. Cute, but NOT cute.
How does your cat rank? Thanks to the WSAVA for these body score sheets.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in 2018*, 55.8% of dogs were overweight or obese. Dogs with an unhealthy weight are also more susceptible to having major health complications. An article we found in DogTime.com states that obesity in dogs is almost as common as obesity in humans. With added and unnecessary weight come major issues such as strained joints, respiratory problems, cancer, and so many more, including premature death.
How does your dog rank? Thanks to the WSAVA for these body score sheets.
So we know the facts, how can we reverse the damage or prevent obesity in our pets?
Well, the two most important things we can do are what we’d do for ourselves if in this situation. Implement increased exercise and decreased caloric intake. Be sure to work with your veterinarian before starting any new diets, which not only mean new food but increasing or decreasing your pet’s food intake. The same goes for adding in or increasing the exercise schedule for your pets as well. If they are not conditioned for a long walk or hike, you need to do this the healthiest way, working them up to it. But again, please consult your veterinarian first.
Be sure to monitor your pet’s food intake by creating scheduled feeding times. It was actually much easier than I expected, even with such a busy schedule, to have breakfast and dinner feeding times with my 4 pets. Now with just Emee, the Chi 2 feeding times are straightforward.
If you only have 1 pet, you can get away with just measuring the food and leaving it out for your pet to graze on, but if it is a dog, scheduled feeding is really nice to help with potty training or just potty breaks in general. Remember, scheduled eating equals scheduled pottying, LOL!
While this new change may be a slight adjustment at first, remember you will be extending your pet's life so you can have more time and enjoyable memories with him or her! Good luck and remember, to always work with your vet when making lifestyle changes with your pets.
Much love from Traci & Emee!
*2018 is the latest year with data, which was provided by pet owners and veterinarians.