It’s Very Important To Watch What & How Much Your Pet Eats During The Holidays
by Barbara J. Bodolosky, D.V.M.
It’s the holiday season, and most of us tend to overeat-and then make New Year’s Resolutions to lose the newly added pounds.
Sad to say, like humans, pets too tend to “pig out” between Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve.
A study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found that dogs and cats gained weight between November 1 and December 31 each year.
While humans generally gain one to two pounds on the average this time of year, every corresponding pound gained by a pet equals 5-7 pounds on a person.
Obesity continues to be a big problem for pets in this country, no matter what time of year.
And considering that a staggering 89 million cats and dogs in this country-half the pets in the US-are already overweight or obese, that additional weight gain for these animals can spell big trouble after the New Year.
Like humans, carrying too much weight has important health implications for pets.
Obesity, which is defined as a disease defined by an excess of body fat that impairs the health, welfare and quality of life of an animal, increases the chances that a pet will eventually become diabetic, arthritic, and contract skin diseases, endocrine imbalance, cardiovascular disease, dermatologic abnormalities and cancer.
Being heavy also impacts the quality of life of an animal. In terms of natural behavior, an obese pet may not be able to engage in what would be otherwise considered normal behavior, like running, without experiencing respiratory problems or heat stroke.
Bottom line: Obesity decreases the life span of a pet. In a 2004 study conducted by Nestle Purina Pet Care, it was found that dogs with ideal body weights had a 15% greater life span than those consistently overweight.
If a pet eats too much or does not get enough exercise, or both, they have a good chance of being overweight or obese.
The main cause of obesity in pets is that the food which they consume contains more energy than use up in their daily routines. They just don’t get an appropriate diet-and they lead too sedentary a lifestyle too.
Generally speaking, pet owners with obese pets tend not to make responsible, health food choices for their loved ones.
Many pet owners create these imbalances by feeding them excessive portions, even if the food and treats are nutritionally balanced to begin with.
Obesity in pets is totally preventable-and treatable, but it’s the pet owner’s responsibility to insure that their pets don’t become obese or lose weight. And unlike humans, most dogs and cats won’t think twice about exercising comes naturally to them.
So during this time of year, think twice about giving your dog or cat a caloric holiday treat-instead, head over to the vegetable or fruit plate and grab your pet a piece of celery, carrot or broccoli.
And if you are not sure whether your dog or cat is overweight, ask yourself these three questions:
- Can you see and feel the outline of your pet’s ribs?
- Can you see and feel your pet’s waist-is it clearly visible?
- Is your pet’s belly tucked up when viewed from the side?
If the answer is no to any one of these questions, then you should make an appointment at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County for a dietary and exercise consultation. We will guide you in how to establish the correct diet that will allow your pet to lose and then maintain the proper weight and set up an exercise regimen for your pet.
The idea is to keep your pet healthy enough for many holiday seasons to come. Let us get your dog or cat to the right weight.
Take advantage of the coupon below! Call us for an appointment at (845) 292-6711 or respond to this email today!
Happy Holidays and New Year from all of us at the Animal Hospital of Sullivan County!