Apr 9, 2010

Big Love: Pet obesity and dog arthritis expands in United States

I have devoted previous posts to the important subject of pet obesity and the effects on canine and feline arthritis.  I would like to revisit the subject again with some great new information  from veterinarian and author Dr Ernie Ward.  I pulled some interesting facts out of the article but if you would like to read it in it’s entirety click here.  Dr Ward is passionate about educating pet owners about pet obesity. Why is obesity in pets on the uprise?  Part of the obesity problem is lack of exercise and poor portion control.  According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), when it comes to expressing our affections with food, we are doing our animals a lot more harm than good.

“Pet obesity is now the biggest health threat to pets in our country,” says lead researcher Dr. Ernie Ward and author of “Chow Hounds.” “The connection between obesity and illness and injury make it the number one medical issue seen in today’s veterinary hospitals.”

Dr. Ernie Ward

Why are we so concerned about obesity in dogs?  Extra weight can compound the pain that a dog or cat feels with arthritis.  For example, if a lab weighs 90 pounds and his ideal weight is 75 pounds, then everytime he jumps off the bed and gets out of the car, those 15 extra pounds can really add to the pressure of his joints as they absorb the weight.  If the dog has arthrits, that can be a very painful scenario.  Just picture putting on a backpack that weighs 15 pounds and then jumping off a four foot wall- tough on the knees right??

According to Dr. Ward, treats continue to be the main culprit for excess weight. Ward stresses that pet owners need to understand the impact that treats have on their pets’ weight. For example, he equates a pig ear given to a 40-pound dog to drinking six, 12-ounce colas. “No one would sit down and drink six sodas at one time, yet that’s exactly what we’re doing when we give our pets these snacks,” says Ward. “And we rarely stop at one treat.”

Share your story of how you keep your pet at a healthy weight.


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