Watch out! your pet may be packing the pounds

| Updated on January 13, 2018 Published on March 04, 2017

pet dogs

Your 8-year-old Labrador is putting on weight and you know she should probably lose a pound or two. But when she looks at you pleadingly with those large brown eyes, how can you resist handing out just one more treat?

It’s not easy. But it may be important, says the US Food and Drug Administration, in a consumer update. “Just as obesity has become a serious problem in people, it’s also a growing problem in pets, one that can seriously harm your pet’s health,” says Carmela Stamper, a veterinarian at the USFDA’s Center for Veterinary Medicine (CVM).

CVM’s responsibilities include making sure food and treats for animals are properly labelled with truthful claims, and are safe for animals and the people who handle them.

A 2015 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimated that 58 per cent of cats and 54 per cent of dogs in the US were overweight.

“The diseases we see in our overweight pets are strikingly similar to those seen in overweight people,” Stamper says, naming as examples diabetes mellitus (Type 2 Diabetes, in which the body does not use insulin properly), osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, heart and respiratory problems, and kidney disease.

“We want our pets to live happy lives, but we also want them to live long ones,” Stamper says. Obesity in your pet can significantly shorten the animal’s life span.

In pets, 20 per cent over ideal body weight is considered obese. But the ideal weight is relative, depending on the animal’s breed, age, body type, and metabolism. Stamper recommends discussing your pet’s weight gain with the vet, asking queries on recommended food and activity in line with age.

Source: USFDA

Published on March 04, 2017
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