Pet obesity; an epidemic
Published: Friday, May 18, 2012
Updated: Monday, August 27, 2012 16:08
Living off-campus has many benefits, such as not having to sign people in or worrying about RA’s. You are finally able to choose who you want to live with, and often the best roomie you can have is a furry one.
Pets give unconditional love, improve your mood, reduce stress and can even stabilize your blood pressure.
The problem is pet owners don’t always give their pets the proper care that is essential to their well-being. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats were diagnosed as overweight or obese by their veterinarians.
“Pet obesity is a sign of our culture,” said Dr. Patti Klein Manke, who works at the Woodstock Veterinary Clinic.
Only 31 percent of people get at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week. College students especially show a decline in physical activity, and this can result in a decline in pets’ physical activity, too.
Another issue is that most Chicago residents don’t have a big yard for their dog or cat to play in, so it is up to the owners to take time to walk their pets.
The Wall Street Journal reported that smaller dogs needs at least 15 minutes of play each day, while larger breeds, such as Labradors, need 30 minutes of exercise. That is the minimum for these animals.
Jackie Buble, a student at DePaul, said it is difficult for her to walk her dog because she isn’t home all the time and her mom is busy. Buble tries to walk her Poodle, Joanie, morning and night, but she agrees that it can be problematic since she lives in Chicago.
“Every time I take her out and remove her leash she gets wild and runs around as much as she can,” said Buble. Even though Buble takes Joanie out regularly, she still doesn’t think it’s enough exercise.
Klein agreed that pet obesity is not only caused by a lack of exercise, but also by poor food choices made by pet owners.
If you are a pet owner, you know how easy it is to give human food to pets, especially when they are begging you at the dinner table.
“Sadly we are very guilty when it comes to table scraps,” Dana Morones, a senior at DePaul, said. “We try not to feed him, but he is like a little king always getting what he wants.”
Morones is a proud owner of a 25-pound Rat Terrier. Oreo’s vet gave the family a meal plan and suggested feeding him little amounts every couple of hours.
It is a huge mistake to feed your dog or cat one giant meal or even leave the food out. Also, automatic feeders can be compared to a candy machine. You have to choose what is right for your pet, and not the other way around.
Pet obesity has become an epidemic, and the consequences of it are staggering.
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s Center for Veterinary Medicine said the diseases seen among obese pets “are eerily similar to those reported for people.”
he Association For Pet Obesity Prevention stated that when a pet is carrying around excess weight it can develop high blood pressure, cancer, kidney disease, osteoarthritis and other diseases. Obesity can also shorten your pet’s life by up to 2.5 years.
The report conducted by the FDA also suggests the problem is due to the growing “fat pet gap” because most owners don’t realize that their pet is overweight.
The most important thing to remember is to never put your pet on a diet without the help and guidance of your vet because there may be a medical condition that is causing your dog or cat’s obesity.
Timothy Reich, a senior at Northern Illinois University, gets annoyed when people think it’s his fault his cat is obese. But, in fact, his 27-pound cat has thyroid problems.
“His name is thunder because you always hear him coming down the stairs!”
PetMD said that the first step is to take you pet to a doctor and have his heart and thyroid checked. Also, tell your doctor how often your dog exercises and for how long and the type of food being fed to him.
Usually, they will reduce your dog’s daily ration by one-third. After two weeks your pet should start losing weight.
The Association of Pet Obesity encourages owners to move the food bowl either upstairs or downstairs to make the pet walk.
If you pet is a beggar, pet it or play with it or better yet take it out for a walk because pets may eat out of boredom, just like people.
Give them vegetables such as carrots, broccoli, celery and asparagus. These are healthy and low calorie choices, as opposed to traditional dog treats.
“There are a lot of healthy food options,” said Klein.