How Does America's Obesity Problem Translate to Its Pets?

Keeping one's pet at a healthy weight helps the pet live a longer and happier life. But, with obesity becoming an increasing problem in the United States, does this trend extend to pets? The numbers say yes, since roughly 40 percent of all pets in the U.S. are overweight. According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, about one-third of American adults are considered to be obese, which is slightly less than the number of seriously portly US pets.

Obese pets are prone to the same health issues as obese humans, including Type 2 diabetes, kidney issues, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, cancer and joint issues. An owner with an overweight pet should consult a veterinarian about the best way for Fido or Fluffy to drop the weight and go back to being svelte and active. There are prescription foods that vets can recommend to help pets get the recommended daily nutrients without going overboard on calories and fat. A healthy diet may be just what the pet needs in order to get back to a healthy weight.

Tips for helping pets lose weight:

  • Portion control. As with humans, controlling the amount pets eat is important. Feed pets twice a day and don't leave excess food sitting out.

  • Exercise. This may be easier with a dog, and the walks are beneficial for humans, too, but cats need play as their exercise. Visit the pet store for some new toys.

  • Regular check-ups. Like humans, pets need to see the doctor periodically, and this will help the vet keep tabs on a pet's weight and offer tips for weight loss.

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More Info: American Veterinary Medical Association

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