Obesity in pets

Did you know that approximately 65% of US households own at least one pet = 79.7 million homes (2016 APPA) and 77.8 million of dogs and 85.8 million of cats are suffering from obesity in USA?

Also, more than 90 percent of owners did not recognize that their obese pets weighed more than they should.

Look at the data here at pet obesity prevention association page for statics.

Obesity leads to illness..

When they are obese, it also can mean that those large number of pets would have possibility of getting various kinds of illness easier than fit and healthy pets.

Just like human illness prevention, many of such illness can be prevented with healthy diet, daily exercise and more.

However, if obese dogs become arthritis or diabetes, then, there would not be easy cure for them.

Obesity affects the body in many ways, both how it functions and how it feels. Over time, the strain that extra weight places on the body can result in problems like joint pain and arthritis.

In case of people, those who are overweight or have obesity have added pressure on their body’s ability to use insulin to properly control blood sugar levels, and are therefore more likely to develop diabetes. 90% of type II diabetes are over weight/have obesity.

According to health network website, cancer is also one of the illness obese dog might face at higher rate.

It says “Excess fat has been implicated in the formation of many cancers in animals. The National Cancer Institute estimates that obesity and physical inactivity may account for 25% to 30% of the major cancers in humans: colon, breast cancer in postmenopausal women, endometrial, kidney, and cancer of the esophagus. New research points to obesity-related insulin resistance as a likely cause. While we don’t have as many dog and cat research studies to draw upon, the consensus is that excess weight increases a pet’s risk of developing many types of cancer. Reduce the weight to reduce the risk.”

According to CBS website, a national provider of pet health insurance, found that insurance claims for conditions and diseases related to pet obesity rose by 10 percent over the past two years.

In 2014, the insurance company received more than 42,000 claims for arthritis in canines, the most common obesity-related disease, with an average treatment cost of $292 per pet.

Obese cats suffered most from bladder and urinary tract disease, with more than 4,700 pet insurance claims for those conditions and an average claim amount of $424.

With any illness, it is much easier and cheaper to make an effort to prevent,rather than trying to go through the treatment after becoming ill.

You can read the full article on the obesity and illness in pets at the link here.

You can read full article on pet obese on CBS website here and here.

How to prevent your dog  from obese..

Dogs rely 100% on their owners for the diet they eat and lifestyles they lead.

I write in my blog entries all the time that, whether it is for people or for pets, diet is the base of the overall health and we need to focus on the better diet.

I still do not understand why vet,who is a dog’s doctor pushes process food or their office has section of shelf to sell the kibble or canned food which is process food.

With human doctor’s office, you would not hear that you should eat the process food to stay healthy and stay living longer happy life.

That being said, first, I think whether you feed fresh food or processed food (kibble, canned food) might be the one step up point where you can guide your dog to healthy longer happy life style.

If you cannot switch your dog’s diet to fresh food;homemade/raw diet, then, at least, try read the ingredient label and understand what you are feeding to your dog.

As many people know, pet food ingredients are listed by weight.

1st ingredients weigh more than the latter ingredients.

When I was attending puppy training class 6 years ago, our trainer had mini segment that let us learn overall dog things from nail trimming to food choice etc and,one thing she has mentioned is that, you should read the label and look for the products that has protein source listed within top 5 ingredients.

I think it is a good suggestion.

Later, I also learned many more things such as..

1. If you are getting kibbles, then, ingredients should be named protein source not vague ingredients; Not “animal fat” but “chicken fat”,for example.

2. Find more than 1 animal protein source in the ingredients list close to the top in the ingredient list.

3. Find whole form of vegetables,grain etc and not “ground” form of grain/vegetables

4. Avoid “by- products” in the list

If you find “chicken by products” for example in the ingredients list
of the kibble, it means by definition “consists of the ground, rendered, clean parts of the carcass of slaughtered chicken, such as necks, feet, undeveloped eggs and intestines, exclusive of feathers, except in such amounts as might occur unavoidable in good processing practice.”

5. Avoid artificial colors,preservatives,and sweeteners etc..

6. Know the splitting system in the pet food market

“Splitting” is the way to make one ingredient into smaller category.

Ingredients are listed in order by weights. With this method, even if
rice was main ingredients (more weights than protein source), by
splitting, it can make lamb or any other protein source look like most weight ingredients.

For example, with kibble, lets say Blue letters are protein related ingredients, purple letters are vegetables, green letters are grain related ingredient, dark brown is other miscellaneous ingredients.

You can see that it looks “good” at glance knowing the ingredients list starts off with protein source, but when you group it up, you can see that you find more purple and green ingredients than dark blue ingredients and, they are carbohydrates heavy food.

Since majority of ingredients are grains and vegetables, you would find only small  amount of meat in them,even though the kibble is advertised saying beef or other protein source is the number one ingredient.

Dog needs protein more than vegetables.

What can you do to make the meal more meaty to suit to your dog’s needs?

You can feed kibble and garnish it with boneless meat (whatever you would use to cook your dinner with. Chicken breast, chicken thigh, beef steak, ground lamb, pork tenderloin.. whatever you cook with.)

That would make the food a little bit more fresher and more suitable for your dog.

When you are feeding kibble, do not feed bone-in meat like drumstick at the same time.

Second, looking through how and what other people are feeding through pictures, videos etc through social media, I feel people seems like feeding too much to the pet at a time.

You must remember that treats also add calories, and it should be less than 10% cal of daily intake.

Nice cute looking frosted dog cookies are marketed for mostly people customer in mind, rather than dog’s health: they are sugary and not healthy.

Third, many people seems to consider dog diet just like human’s and, tend to add in flavoring or seasoning like.. adding peanut butter, honey and so on.

For dogs, simpler the best. No need to add sweetener like honey just because dog likes sweet stuff.

1 tbs of peanut butter is 90 kcal and if you were filling dog chew toy Kong with peanut butter, you will be feeding hundreds of cal just with peanut butter as treats!

Not only what to feed, how much you feed are the issue but also how much you exercise your dog.

Dog needs physical exercise:daily walk, and mental exercise:training etc.

Just 5 minutes at a time training for your dog lets your dog use their brain and it is good for them.

How to judge your dog being at good weight..

As a general rule of thumb, dogs and cats should have a tucked waist when you look down on them from top, and you should feel the ribs.

Jun 21, 2017 | 0 | Dog Diet

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