Pet Obesity Pandemic on the Rise

Pet Obesity Pandemic on the Rise
Photo by Jacalyn Beales on Unsplash

After the first lockdown, many people noticed some extra weight in both themselves and their pets. In a study done by the end of last year, 33% of pet owners with overweight pets admitted that their pets gained weight since the pandemic started.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention is currently surveying pet owners to get the results for this year. The numbers are expected to be even higher. 

The main problem is that most pet owners don’t recognize when their pets are overweight. In other words, there’s a huge difference between what vets consider overweight and what owners think is overweight. 

A previous study found that an amazing 81% of owners think their pets are of ideal weight. Only 19% consider their pets overweight or obese. However, according to vets, more than 50% of those dogs and cats were obese.

A survey has also found that American dogs are 11.83 lb overweight on average. As this is the state average, some states had terrible and surprising numbers. For example, West Virginia’s female pets had an average of 21.40 lb more than normal!

The largest problems were noticed in smaller breeds, where even a few pounds can be too much. 

Another problem is that pet owners usually get defensive or act surprised when it comes to their pet’s weight. More precisely, 64% of veterinarians report that pet owners don’t react well when told their pets are overweight.

Many owners also don’t know much about pet nutrition. For example, you can feed your dog human food, but this shouldn’t include leftovers. If given leftovers from unhealthy/unsuitable food, they can become obese.

Also, wet food is generally preferred since it’s much harder to miscalculate the right portion size, and it provides your dog with additional moisture. With a variety of healthy wet food for cats and dogs, it’s not hard to find the best one for your pet.

If you have any questions about pet food, consulting a vet is always a good choice, too.

All the results presented should be taken with a grain of salt. A few pounds extra won’t hurt a big and active dog — but it can do a lot more damage to a smaller one. 

Unfortunately, the reality is that many people think extra food equals extra love instead of focusing on their pet’s long-term quality of life.

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