Friday, June 4, 2010

Obesity - It's not just for humans anymore

It's next to impossible to watch the news and not see a story about the obesity crisis in the United States. From rising health care costs to shortened life spans, obesity is impacting Americans across the country. What doesn't make the news as much is pet obesity. Just like for humans, being overweight can cause a lot of problems for pets.

One thing that is hard to remember for a pet owner is just how little weight a pet has to gain to cause a serious health risk. While I can gain 10 pounds and probably not cause a serious increase in my health risks, if my pet gains 10 pounds, that is a 20% weight gain, which could cause serious health impacts.

Not only can keeping your pet at it's ideal weight keep your pet healthy, it can save you money too. A few months ago, when my dog was diagnosed with mild hip dysplasia, I was fretting about what medicines he should be on and how much it would cost. The vet told me that the best thing I could do for his long-term joint health was to keep him slim and trim. So essentially, the best treatment option for my dog was FREE!

So you might wonder, how to I keep my pet from gaining weight? As any fan of NBC's The Biggest Loser knows, it all comes down to calories. A new study has been released indicating that just buying your pet a "diet" pet food may not give you the results that you desire. The amount of calories per volume of different brands of food vary by quite a bit. So basically, a cup is not a cup is not a cup! It's important to pay attention to feeding recommendations and measure out your pet's food accordingly.

Don't forget the treats that you give your pet count as calories too! I have been doing a lot of training with one of my dogs, working on her Canine Good Citizen certificate, so I have reduced the amount of food she gets at mealtime to compensate.

Bottom line, if you are concerned that your pet might be overweight, work with your vet to determine your pet's ideal weight and how many calories your pet should consume each day.

1 comment:

Khyra, Khousin Merdie, And Sometimes Her Mom said...

Excellent post -

I know Khousin Merdie is a bit - ummm - extra Golden right now -

She's been introduced to the wonders of green beans during her stay at Khamp Khyra -

We are seeing results too!