October is pet obesity awareness month. Every year the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) publishes data that reflects the weight health of pets. Last year, an estimated 56% of dogs and 60% of cats in the United States were considered overweight or obese. Clearly, our own troubled relationship with food has found its way to our pets. Let’s get some more information about causes and learn some tips to prevent pet obesity.
“Feed less and exercise more. All dogs need at least 20-30 minutes of aerobic intensity walking per day. Larger breeds often need much more. ”APOP President, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward
How To Tell If Your Pet Is Obese
Using the tools below, pet parents should be able to, with relative ease, feel and count their dog’s ribs. Additionally, your dog should have an hourglass-shaped figure, or an indentation, near their midsection. Also, take a look at your dog from the side while they are standing. In this position, you should be able to view a slight, slope-up shape to their tummy. Here are the signs that your pet is obest:
- Standing over your dog, look down, to see if your dog is plump or blimp-shaped.
- Look at your dog from the side to see if your dog’s abdomen hangs low or comes close to the ground.
Information Has The Power To Help Prevent Pet Obesity
According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), 50 million dogs are overweight or obese. Here is helpful information that identifies how pet owners correct their pet’s obesity.
Pet Parents Rank Most Effective Weight Loss Methods
Given a variety of options to help their dog lose weight, pet parents’ responses are varied.
- Calorie Reduction/Smaller Portions: 38% ranked it very effective
- Increased Exercise: 36% ranked it very effective
- Low-Calorie/Low-Fat: 9% ranked it as very effective
Food Matters, But Exercise Is Key
We all know that calories in minus calories burned is the math that tells us how many calories we, and our dogs, will retain. To prevent pet obesity it’s important to get your dog outside to exercise. And, the best and easiest way to exercise an obese pet is with walking. Easy peasy. Or is it?
Anxiety and Fear/Aggression Often Plays A Role In Minimal Dog Walking
We’ve worked with a number of clients whose dogs experience anxiety and/or fear-aggression. One of the biggest complaints is that they really dislike walking with their dogs because they bark and can even snarl when encountering things and people that set off their anxiety. With the right tools and training, these fear-aggressive, anxiety-laden dogs can thrive.
Dog Earplugs Help Quiet Things That Can Cause Anxiety
Some dogs respond with fear at any noise, making walking a challenge (read: Options for Fear Anxiety-Ridden Dogs). Some dogs react to garage doors opening and closing, cars, other dogs, runners, etc. Oftentimes, it’s the noises that cause their responses. While it may seem easier to just skip walking these types of dogs – know that building up experiences that come through socialization helps release anxiety. It takes time. This is where our dog earplugs play the role of hero!