Click Here To Sign Up!
BaxterBoo Blog
July 9, 2012

Is There a Link Between Human and Pet Obesity?

main image

It seems that human obesity is on the forefront of our minds with media exposure and even political platforms. It seems we are not the only ones affected by an increase in an obesity epidemic. Apparently we are also killing our pets with kindness, giving them too many treats and sharing sedentary lifestyles with them.

Why the Jump in Pet Obesity?

It has become more commonplace to treat our pets as members of the family. While this can be mutually beneficial emotionally, care must be taken not to give our pets human-sized portions, especially not of human foods. Perhaps you sneak your dog lunch meat, cheese, or bread while you're making your sandwich. One slice of bread for your dog is equivalent to giving a human a cheeseburger. Giving your cat a slice of cheese is like giving a human four chocolate bars. And that saucer of milk for kitty? That equals four cheeseburgers! It's easy to see how treats can lead to obesity.

Obese canine from New Orleans. Photo by Mr TGT.

There are emotional components that can increase obesity in pets. For instance, if you've been out working all day, perhaps you feel guilty for leaving your pet alone and offer treats to assuage that guilt. Food is also a point of bonding for humans, associated with good feelings. It's natural to let that translate to our pets, but we need to realize that can be dangerous since our pets are small, and little bits of food kindness translates to a large calorie load for animals.

What does fit look like?

There are certain areas of the country that people are generally heavier, and overweight begins to look normal after awhile. The same is true for pets. Their paunch and roundness gradually creeps up on you. That's why it's important to keep track of your dog or cat's weight at the veterinarian's. But these simple guidelines can help. For dogs, the abdomen should be tucked up when viewed from the side, and a waist should be visible when viewed from above. Cats should should be sleek, able to move easily and gracefully.

The Dangers of Excess Weight

We all know the dangers of obesity in humans... increased risk for heart disease, joint pain, and diabetes, just to name a few. These are also being seen in overweight pets, as well as breathing disorders, increased risk for osteoarthritis, heat intolerance, etc. However, in animals, this increased strain on the various body systems can decrease your pet's life by an average of 1-2 years. So realizing the problem and then acting on it is quite important.

What can be done?

Start moving! For cats this can be the introduction of a scheduled playtime or an additional playmate. Our first cat was starting to get a little lazy. We introduced another cat, and that did wonders for her figure and mood! For dogs, this means getting out there and walking them, which is good for you too! Vigorous play is also recommended.

Food is usually the core issue of pet obesity. This responsibility lies squarely with the pet owner. Feeding a sensible prepared diet is like having a personal nutritionist help you, so buy a high-quality food and reduce quantities of snacks. Table scraps should be omitted for overweight pets. Pets will generally eat what is placed in front of them. The food drive is quite strong, and they are quite good at training us to feed them on demand! Be stronger than the beggars! They will get over it!

Form a working plan with your vet including regular weight checks and blood work to ensure there isn't an underlying medical condition causing weight gain such as hypothyroidism. Your vet will help you determine your dog's ideal weight and diet.

Your dog or cat will appreciate having joint relief and more energy for doing what comes naturally! Work to reach your goals together and you'll both be feeling better!

Photo by Dan Perry.

Is There a Link Between Human and Pet Obesity on July 9 at 6:21 AM said:

[...] Is There a Link Between Human and Pet Obesity? | BaxterBoo Blog [...]
Joanne Curtis on July 18 at 8:02 PM said:

This is terrible. How can an owner allow their pet to get heavy and not realize it is bad for their health. It is the same when heavier people also tend to have heavy children. I have nothing against heavy people whatsoever. I only hope they realize it is not healthy at all. Dogs and cats need to eat their own food and not table food or too many treats. For the cats, the owners need to look into cat trees. Their felines will get some great exercise.

What do you think?

You are not logged in.
This entry was posted by .

Recent Articles

article image

May 27, 2017

Memorable Movie Dogs

  The next time you’re spending a rainy weekend with a houseful of bored, restless kids, pop in a DVD and settle back to watch a good dog movie. Admittedly, the first one discussed isn’t available on DVD, but it wouldn’t have

article image

May 27, 2017

Watch this: Dog Casually Swims In Pool

Yesterday's pup was super excited for the weekend. This dog has his Saturday chill on, just lounging in the pool. Playing some casual water fetch. 

article image

May 26, 2017

Why You Should Never Declaw Your Cat

  Having your cat declawed may seem like the perfect way to avoid years of stress and torn up furniture in your home, but there are several reasons why this practice is not good for your cat. Some shelters even ask you to sign agreement that yo

Subscribe to

Baxter's Backyard!