Pet obesity problem in the U.S. - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Pet obesity problem in the U.S.


Eau Claire (WQOW) - If you're a pet owner, you know how tough it can be to say "no" when they beg for a treat. But too many scraps and not enough exercise is creating an obesity problem among pets in the U.S.  

Oakwood Hills Animal Hospital Veterinarian, Todd Leavitt, says, "I think the most common issue is people aren't aware."

According to a recent study, more than half the dogs and cats in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese. Leavitt says it's an issue he's familiar with. "I would venture to guess it's probably a little higher than that," says Leavitt.  

Just like humans, the list of effects on our furry friends is a long one. Leavitt says, "Joint damage, problems with the heart, but also affects the length of their life, the quality of their life."

Pet owner, Steve Nelson says, "We almost treat our dogs like our children." And we all know sometimes it can be impossible to say no.

"Beagles are beggars; they have those big brown eyes that when you're eating your supper, they want part of it," says pet owner Kathy Freid.  

Nelson says, "In the case of my dog, we baby him, we feed him table scraps, stuff he shouldn't be getting. So, he takes in extra calories that he has to walk off."

But Leavitt says treats aren't the best way to show your pet you love them. He says, "Activities, getting your dog outside is a big one, giving them a job to do, whether it's agility or fetching. House cats you can exercise, encouraging movement with cat dancers or fishing poles."

And the more you exercise, the more your pet is likely to get.  Leavitt says, "I think pet obesity will continue to be an issue as long as human obesity is."

Freid says, "Bringing Norton to the dog park is almost as important for me, in that I get my exercise."

"You get exercise, you stay healthy and thin and so does your dog," says Nelson.  

Leavitt says it's better to feed your dog or cat at specific times rather than letting them eat whenever. 

Get in touch with your veterinarian if you have questions about how much your pet should weigh and how much they should eat every day.

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