Pet obesity and how to fight it

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It’s no secret that the majority of Americans are overweight. According to The Washington Post, seven out of ten are obese or overweight -- But what about our pets? Our four-legged friends are getting fat with us, with more than half the dogs and cats in America being overweight or obese. However, just like with our own weight, there are things responsible pet owners can do to create a healthy life. 

Just like humans, there are serious side-effects with being overweight -- Issues like hypertension, arthritis, diabetes and cancer. Being just one pound overweight isn’t much of a problem for us, but to a pet it could be the equivalent of an extra hundred pounds if they were humans. Keeping your pet active with plenty of exercise is essential, but it is also important to know what their healthy weight is, and to monitor it closely. Many pet owners have no idea what that number is. 

Dr. Kate Knutson of Pet Crossing Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic told FOX 9, "If your cat were me and I'm 153 pounds right now today, I would be 245 pounds. And they [clients] look at that and they go OK, yep, you wouldn't look very good at 245 pounds."

Pet owners can also make sure their animals are getting the correct amount of calories a day. The numbers on a bag or can of food may not necessarily apply to your specific pet. Dr. Knutson uses this formula: Convert your pet’s weight in pounds to kilograms. Take that number and multiply it by 30. And then add 70. That’s how many calories your pet should get each day. But if they are spayed or neutered they only get 80 percent of that total.

That number of calories doesn’t include room for treats either, so owners will have to take those bite sized rewards into consideration too. And not all treats are considered equal. To a small dog, an innocent looking cookie could be the human equivalent of eating a cheeseburger. Owners can try mixing in rich and low calorie treats along with non-edible chew toys that will equally excite their pets. 

Dr. Knutson says, "If you keep them at the perfect weight you're going to have 2-5 more years with them, fewer medical bills, so hopefully they're going to be 17 or so."

 

Watch the video to see the keys to keeping your pet healthy for years to come.

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