I never equated giving an extra few treats to Simon as really harming him. He is a little heavier than he should be, but I felt he was getting older so he should enjoy a few more treat So what if he is a few pounds heavier than he should be.
But…when the study equated the affects of overweight pets to smoking in human medicine, I was, like most of us (pet owners) would be, horrified! Well, this is how Steven Budsberg, director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine positoned obesity in animals. “There’s the high cost to people, and it’s self-induced. I never met a German shepherd who could open the refrigerator or food bag and pour himself another bowl.”
A recent study reports that the problem is reaching epidemic proportions, with more than half of U.S. dogs and cats now overweight or obese — defined as 30% above normal weight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, one-fifth of dogs and cats fit the bill. The main culprit is us, who routinely overfeed our pets, don’t exercise them enough. Common problems from obesity include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.
One big problem is that our idea of what is a fat pet is different from what veterinarian’s define as a fat pet. A study by Pfizer Inc.’s Animal Health business showed that 47% of veterinarians felt their (dog) patients were obese, while only 17% of dog owners agreed. For instance, a 90-pound female Labrador retriever is equal to a 186-pound woman who is 5-foot, 4-inches tall—a human body-mass index that’s considered obese. Another example is a fluffy, domestic short-haired cat weighing 15 pounds; this is like a 254-pound man who is 5′ 9″.
Okay, so the problem is us. We control what we feed our pets, so we control their health. Feed them less and exercise them more. I am cutting back on Simon’s treats as of today and committing to taking him out for more exercise starting today.
Hope this opened your eyes. It did mine.