In 2016, APOP’s survey revealed 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs were classified as overweight or obese by their veterinary clinics. That adds up to an estimated 50.5 million cats and 41.9 million dogs at risk for weight-related disorders. Obesity is relatively easy to identify but infinitely more difficult to treat.
Obesity affects nearly everyone—human and animal—in some harmful manner, steals billions in medical bills and robs quality of life and life expectancy for hundreds of millions. That’s why the battle to cure obesity is so important and must be addressed during every appointment.
Ample evidence exists that excess weight and adipose (fat) tissue in dogs and cats is associated with many serious consequences. Obesity has been shown to cause or exacerbate osteoarthritis and hypertension, and is linked with several cancers. Pets with obesity are at increased risk of metabolic and endocrine disorders, especially type 2 diabetes, respiratory disorders and renal dysfunction. In my opinion, the most significant consequence of pet obesity is diminished quality of life and reduced life expectancy. Science is pointing toward chronic, low-grade inflammation as the chief common denominator of these obesity-related disorders.
The real danger of excess fat isn’t the fat—it’s the inflammation the fat causes. This is what I want us to communicate to clients: Inflammation is the new pet obesity. Reducing chronic systemic inflammation should be a primary objective of treatment.
You and your pet can work together to reduce your inflammation and extra fat! Exercise together, have healthy snacks together. It is proven that pets reduce stress…work with them. Dogs love veggies as snacks!