Every October Animal Hospital of North Asheville takes part in an important study presented by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), so many of you may have taken part through the years. A short survey is given to clients which asks a few very simple questions about their pet. The survey helps track not only the trends for obesity in cats and dogs but also the views of pet families and veterinarians on pets’ weight and key nutritional food issues.
Unfortunately, pet obesity in U.S. continued to rise in 2016, affecting nearly 59% of cats and 54% of dogs. This past year the 9th Annual Pet Obesity Survey also found that pet families and veterinary professionals disagree on key pet food issues such as benefits of corn and grains, if there is a value to raw and organic diets and the best sources of pet nutritional advice. The combination of the rise in pet obesity and conflicting views on pet nutrition can cause problems for families battling the problem of pet obesity. Obesity can seriously affect your pet’s health and shorten their life span.
The most important step in preventing and managing pet obesity is to talk to your veterinarian. Discuss diets, your beliefs about feeding and nutrition, and the overwhelming amount of information (and misinformation) that is presented by pet food manufacturers, pet store employees, internet sites and advertising. The veterinarians at Animal Hospital of North Asheville can help determine feeding guidelines based on your pet’s medical history, activity level, and nutritional needs.
Once you set up a feeding and health plan, the next step is sticking to it by feeding the appropriate diet and carefully measuring the amount, controlling extra calories from treats, and helping your pet get lots of exercise. Just as weight loss in people is not “one plan fits all,” it is important to work hand in hand with your veterinarian to develop a plan that fits your pet. Continued communication and education will help reduce the gap in views on key pet food issues, decrease the risk of pet obesity and most importantly improve the health of your pet.
To read the full article and results from the 9th Annual Pet Obesity Survey presented by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, please click here.