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Alarming Statistics on Pet Obesity A Serious Cause For Concern

By Robert Mueller, B. Pharm.

Obesity in dogs and cats has become an alarming problem in America and throughout the world.  A 2012 survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity revealed that 52.5% of dogs and 58.3% of cats seen by veterinarians across the country are considered overweight or obese.  This ever-increasing health epidemic can lead to serious health disorders, including diabetes and cancer.

The physical effect of carrying excess body weight contributes to a rapid deterioration of joints and often promotes hip, joint, and mobility problems, such as arthritis.  As additional weight puts stress on the already weak joints, your pet will begin to slow down, reducing their amount of daily exercise, which further perpetuates the vicious cycle of obesity.  Excess weight also puts a strain on the circulatory system, which in turn stresses out the heart, leading to pulmonary and cardiovascular disease down the road.

So what is causing all the pet obesity in this country and why do the numbers continue to rise?

The underlying cause of obesity in dogs and cats is a simple imbalance between energy intake (food) and energy expenditure (exercise), which results in an energy surplus (fat) or weight gain. This sounds like an easy problem to resolve, but there are many underlying factors that need to be considered.  Some of these factors include:

  • Hormonal abnormalities
  • Genetic predisposition to dog obesity
  • Activity level and lifestyle
  • External influences (such as food)
  • Diet composition and palatability

While proper breeding practices can help minimize the risk of some of these factors, there are a few things that we as pet owners can do to eliminate some of the risk factors that contribute to obesity in pets.

Diet

Many of today’s pre-packaged, processed, commercial pet foods are loaded with grains, fillers, preservatives, and other inferior quality ingredients.  These formulations contain an overabundance of carbohydrates and low-quality proteins, which are hard for our pets to digest.  Foods such as these do not offer our pets the necessary amount of nutrients needed for optimum health and development.  As a result they are constantly “hungry” and have to eat more of this “junk food” than necessary in order to feel “nutritionally satisfied.”

A much better choice is a raw food diet like the BARF Diet.  One of the advantages of raw diets for dogs and cats, is the high level of nutrition they receive compared to cooked, kibble, or canned pet foods.  A raw fed dog or cat will noticeably consume less raw food than pets fed a dry, canned or moist food diet yet they will utilize a higher percentage of nutrients even with less quantity intake.  This is the food that nature intended for your pet.

Exercise

Regular exercise is the second part of keeping your pet in shape.  Once you begin feeding a raw diet, you will notice an appreciable difference in the energy level of your pet.  The BARF (biologically appropriate raw food) diet, being high in protein and low in carbohydrates, promotes a trim, toned body and gives your pet the energy required for increased exercise and activity.   “My dog acts like a puppy again,” is something we often hear from our ecstatic clients.  Like, Claudia Hetzer from San Diego, California:

“Our dog, Captain, a 85-pound lab retriever, was eight when we switched him to the BARF World diet.  Already after the first few weeks, he seemed invigorated, more energetic and his joint stiffness (arthritis) improved markedly.  Now he chases the ball around like a puppy, his coat looks wonderful, he barely sheds and is overall a happier and healthier dog.  We will never feed him anything else.”

A natural, raw diet and regular exercise will help prevent obesity and extend the life of your pet.  These two simple health recommendations – a wholesome and nutritious diet, and daily exercise, are the same suggestions that we as humans hear from medical and nutritional experts on a regular basis.

Take care of yourself and take care of your pet.  You will be amazed at how well you and your pet look and feel when you both eat properly and take a walk every day.

Related posts:

  1. Dog Palatability And Obesity
  2. Couch Potato Dogs
  3. BARF Diets and Calorie Requirements
  4. Chinese Medicine: Using Food to Cure Disease
  5. Constipation On A Raw Dog Food Diet
 
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