The Issue of Obesity - In Pets
More than half of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight. Learn the signs and how you can help your pet tip the scales in the right direction. Video by fox47news.comvideo
More than half of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight, and chances are your pet is one of them. It may be hard to tell because pet obesity is so common.
"Nobody is used to seeing a thin labrador, nobody is used to seeing a thin golden retriever. So that's become the new normal," says Amber Taylor, registered vet tech.
Gaining weight for a pet just like in people can lead to increases in cardiac disease, increases in hip and joint problems, and it can decrease their life span by years at a time. .
Some diet and exercise programs recommended for pets by vets and animal clinics are also becoming beneficial for the owners' heath too.
"It can become a family lifestyle to get out and walk every night, and we're all going to watch what we eat, we know we shouldn't feed the dog extra goodies so we're going to watch what we eat as well," says Taylor.
Too much love - in the form of treats and too much food - is often the culprit.
"Making them happy makes you happy, and sometimes that translates into just too many calories," says Dr. Elizabeth Murphy, veterinarian.
One of the simple ways you can save calories is actually switching out dog treats for carrots.
According to Dr. Murphy, "carrots are fantastic. Any kind of vegetable is great. Fruits are great, except for grapes."
There are simple ways to see if your pup is carrying around too many pounds.
"We'd like to be able to feel [the] ribs. When viewed from above, [see that they] have a little bit of a tuck or taper as it goes towards [the] back legs," says Dr. Murphy.
Experts suggest you measure out the recommended portion size of food - don't just fill your pet's bowl.
While a walk around the block may be all your pup can take, you can gradually add in more exercise until they are active and healthy.