National Pet Obesity Day: The dangers of sharing quarantine snacks with your furry friend

Virginia

VIRGINIA (WDVM) — It’s National Pet Obesity Day, and this year, pet owners should be aware of how their quarantine snacking can negatively impact their furry friend’s health.

Chief Veterinary Officer & Wild Earth Co-Founder Dr. Ernie Ward spoke with WDVM about the uptick in pet obesity during COVID-19.

He says that owners have been ordering food in more and going out for walks less during the pandemic, causing weight gain in household cats and dogs.

Obesity in animals can be fatal and lead to diseases such as cancer, diabetes and heart failure.

Ward stressed the importance of not giving into the puppy eyes from your pooch during your next meal.

“We need to focus on our pet’s health, and when it comes to longevity, preventing disease and increasing their quality of life, there’s no more powerful tool that you have than how much you feed your pet each day,” said Ward.

He says that dogs who are kept at a lean body weight tend to live two and a half years longer than those that suffer from obesity. However, he has one bit of advice for all pet owners.

“Every time you see your veterinarian, you demand that they perform a body-conditioned score,” said Ward. “This test gives us some type of measurement of where your pet’s body condition is.”

Instead of looking at just the number on the scale, look for signs that your pet may be suffering from conditions caused by obesity, such as excessive drinking of water (diabetes). Ward says that you should be feeding your pet a high-protein, high-fiber diet.

“That is most conducive to maintaining a healthy weight,” he said.

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