Obesity & Your Dog: What You Can Do to Help

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Obese dogProblems Associated with Overweight Dogs

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 54% of the nation’s dogs and cats are overweight. Ernie Ward, DVM and founder of APOP is not happy about it.

“We often try to compare what’s happening with our pets to the childhood obesity epidemic, since it’s a similar pattern that emerges,” said Dr. Ward. “The biggest problem is that by the time most people recognize the problem, it’s often too late.”

So why is it that having an obese dog is such a problem? Dr. Ward broke it down.

The Two Main Problems with Overweight Dogs

There are really two factors to keep in mind when you consider the issues associated with overweight and obese dogs, says Dr. Ward: health and money.

The first, health, should come as no surprise to those who are aware of all the health issues that overweight people have to deal with. "It’s not only the fact that obese dogs face a shorter life expectancy, but it’s the quality of the life they’re leading in the first place," says the doctor.

A few of the major health issues that obese dogs and cats have to deal with include osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, cancer and more. "The real heartbreaker for me as a vet, though, is that these pets have such a diminished quality of life,"Dr., Ward said. "I see the consequences, and I wish for those pets that I could roll back the tape to five years ago and say ‘let’s change a few minor things here and there and we could have avoided all of this.’ It’s avoidable, not inevitable."

Besides the health factors, Dr. Ward is also astounded by the amount of money that is spent when it comes to treating obese pets. He estimates that obese animals are costing owners tens, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars in unnecessary medical bills each year. “From an economic perspective this is huge,” he said. In fact, according to Dr. Ward a lot of the vet care expenses associated with weight issues would go away if we would all start making smarter and better food choices for our pets. You heard that right; better pet food choices can help save you money!

For the complete article on why what your dog weighs really matters, visit petMD!


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