Here’s the skinny, folks. Cats and dogs in the U.S. are getting fatter, and the sad truth is that most pet owners aren’t aware of the epidemic. A spring 2015 study by the Association for Pet Prevention highlights some pretty staggering numbers: 58% of our nation’s cats and 53% of dogs are considered overweight. The study also found most owners of fat pets who participated in the survey had no idea that their Fido was on the fluffy side.
Unfortunately, obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in the United States, according to researchers, and the costs of illness and injury as a direct result makes it the most treated medical problem in veterinary hospitals. Obesity also is one of the most preventable problems, but pet owners often let it go untreated.
If your pet is overweight, veterinarians warn that you’re cheating him of a longer life — up to three years, according to some estimates. Obesity usually begins with too many snacks, too little exercise and a tendency toward table scraps. Sound familiar? Sometimes, just 3 extra pounds to a small dog feels more like 30.
But simply being fat isn’t the only problem. Fatty tissue is a serious problem, too. The old school of thought was that fat (adipose tissue) stored energy and protected vital organs from injury. Newer research proves that fat isn’t always so innocent, however. Adipose tissue is actually an endocrine organ that secretes hormones and cytokines, proteins produced by cells to regulate the body’s natural responses to disease and infection. But when the body releases too much of the protein, inflammation occurs and, over time, may predispose the body to develop chronic diseases including arthritis, diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure […]