By Kaylie-Ann Flannigan
Over half of American dogs and cats are obese.
In fact, there is an entire organization in the United States for pet obesity prevention. They have deemed Oct. 8 as National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.
Their entire website breaks down the caloric intake of cats and dogs as well as tips for helping those furry friends to lose weight and stay healthy.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) also discusses birds in their figures, saying that birds are the most overweight out of all other types of pets, since they usually have food in their cages to eat all the time.
APOP states that obese pets can have many health complications, such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, kidney diseases, certain cancers, heart and respiratory disease, and other problems. Obesity can also shave off at least two years of life for most pets.
PetMD says, “Obesity is common in dogs of all ages, but it usually occurs in middle-aged dogs, and generally in those that are between the ages of five and 10. Neutered and indoor dogs also tend to have a higher risk of becoming obese.”
In 2013, a total of 178.9 million cats and dogs in American household were overweight or obese. Many people are used to their pets being obese and tend to accept it as normal.
In order to dispel myths and create awareness about health problems in obese pets, there is a pet weight translator so that one may see a correlation of pet weight to human weight such as a 90-pound Labrador retriever being equivalent to a 186 pound 5’ 4’’ female person.
Fighting pet obesity is not about starving or taking away a pet’s food in order to make sure they lose weight.
There is an entire PDF on the APOP website for both cats and dogs that discusses calories and weight as well as proper exercise for pets. With a combination of diet and exercise, pets will be able to live longer without so many health complications.
As humans, it is our responsibility to take care of those who cannot take care of themselves.
We do not want to see health issues in these harmless, helpless animals. They give us unconditional love, and we need to take care of them to make sure they live happy, healthy lives.