“I think the same for people is for dogs. Food is kind of happiness,” said Rachel Cliffton, pet owner. “They’re obviously really excited when you give them an extra special snack. They’re full-on smiling, and they’re just so excited. It’s hard not to spoil your pets.”
Just like with humans, overeating is leading to a rough road for a growing number of our furry friends.
“Whether it’s them or us, the additional treats [or] a little bit of table food add up, especially in a dog that may not be as active,” said Dr. Julie Augustine, Associate Veterinarian at Pet Dominion.
About 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. are overweight, according to a survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
This increasing trend is resulting in serious health conditions, like Type 2 Diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease, symptoms strikingly similar to those seen in overweight humans.
“If you see more straight lines than curvy lines, as far as a dip in at the waste and tucked up at the abdomen, that’s a good way to say, ‘Hey listen. We may have to ease-off the extra kibble that we’re feeding [them],’” said Augustine.
20 percent over the ideal body weight is considered obese in pets, but the ideal weight is relative, depending on the animal’s breed, age, body type and metabolism.
“Don’t necessarily feed what the back of the bag tells you to feed, because that’s based on a dog that probably has a certain level of activity,” said Augustine.
It’s not a matter of cutting out treats altogether, though. The key is a phrase you’ve probably heard before; Everything in moderation.