Overweight Pets

March 3, 2008 10:42:34 AM PST
As millions of Americans vow to get healthier and stave off illness by making a New Year's resolution to lose weight, it's time for dog owners to make a similar pledge for their furry friends. Recent studies indicate that 25 to 40 percent of U.S. dogs - approximately 17 million - are overweight or obese and potentially facing serious health problems. What's more troubling is that many owners may not be aware if their own dogs are at risk. To help owners determine whether their own dog is at its ideal weight and understand the health implications of canine obesity, thousands of veterinarians across the country have teamed up to participate in the first-ever National Canine Weight Check.

During the month of February, pet owners are invited to bring their dogs to participating veterinary practices for free weight assessments, including breed-specific information. The month-long health initiative will also help raise awareness of the serious medical issues associated with overweight and obesity in dogs including heart disease, arthritis, skin conditions and breathing problems. Additionally, obesity can worsen the signs associated with pre-existing diseases such as high blood pressure, hormone disorders and joint disease.

Dr. Tony Kremer is participating in the National Canine Weight Check and encourages dog owners can log on to www.drtony.com or www.StopCanineObesity.com find out the specific dates and times that free weight checks are being offered.

The National Canine Weight Check is a public service supported by the American Kennel Club Humane Fund and veterinarians across the country, through a sponsorship by Pfizer Animal Health.

"People make New Year's resolutions for themselves in January. We're asking dog owners to make February the month they concentrate on their dogs' health by getting free weight checks," says Dr. Kremer. "By helping dog owners identify the healthy weight for their individual dog, we are hoping to lessen the prevalence of the serious medical conditions associated with overweight or obesity."

Canine obesity is a growing problem. In 2006, two surveys of U.S. veterinarians and dog owners revealed that many dog owners may not be aware if their dogs are the proper weight. The surveys showed that while veterinarians estimate 47 percent of their canine patients are overweight or obese, only 17 percent of dog owners saw their overweight dogs as unhealthy or obese.

While some dog owners realize canine obesity is a serious condition, many may have trouble recognizing that their own pet is at an unhealthy weight. Ten extra pounds on a person may not seem to be that much, but a 40-pound dog with 10 additional pounds is 25 percent over its ideal weight.

"Dog owners have a hard time seeing the reality, that "it's not just the hair", their dog is really overweight," said Kremer "That's the point of the National Canine Weight Check - to help them recognize that it's not just a weight problem, it's a health risk. We want to get these dogs in and provide free screenings on an individual basis to help America's dogs."

Tips:

  • Decrease calorie consumption
  • Create a daily exercise routine
  • Enforce controlled feedings (feed your pet twice a day and in measured amounts)
  • Resist loving your pet with food (Don't use treats as a substitute for attention or a cure for guilt)
  • Keep pets away from the dinner table
  • More information:

  • www.drtony.com
  • www.StopCanineObesity.com

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