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According to the 8th annual National Pet Obesity Prevalence Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), in 2014, 58% of cats in the United States and 53% of dogs were overweight.
Interestingly, this survey also reported on the "fat pet gap". Ninety percent of owners of overweight cats and 95% of owners of overweight dogs felt their pets were normal weight!
Obesity can increase your pet's risk of numerous unwanted health conditions, including heart and respiratory disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and orthopedic injuries (e.g. cranial cruciate ligament), among others.
As part of your pet's physical exam at Lawndale Veterinary Hospital, we will assess your pet's Body Condition Score. This information along with your pet's weight will help us determine whether your pet is overweight.
If your pet is overweight, major recommendations include feeding the appropriate number of calories, maintaining regular exercise that is appropriate for your pet's overall health status, cutting out treats and table scraps, and potentially feeding a prescription weight loss diet. If you are interested in getting your dog or cat started on a prescription weight loss diet, ask us about our Weight Loss Incentive Program.
If your pet is on a diet, it is important to remember the weight loss should be slow and controlled. Animals that lose too much weight too quickly can become sick in other ways.
For more information on managing and preventing obesity in your pet, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention has numerous resources and tips.
Author: Dr. C. Noureddine, DVM, MS