POSTED: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 4:00pm
UPDATED: Wednesday, June 1, 2011 - 4:32pm
EL PASO - Obesity isn't just a growing problem in people, it's also affecting our animals.
A new study shows an alarming trend in the health of pets.
"They're sitting at the dinner table, begging and oh I can't resist that face," said Dr. Janie Grant.
Grant says giving in to giving your pet table food is opening them up to a wealth of health problems, "I often tell people, you're killing them with love."
That may sound a bit harsh but grant says it's true.
She's seen an increase in overweight animals coming into her clinic.
"We do see a lot of dog obesity. It contributes to health problems, especially diabetes, heart disease and arthritis," she said.
A new study by the nation's largest chain of veterinary clinics, Banfield Pet Hospital, found that within the last 4 years diabetes is up more than 30% in dogs and 16 % in cats.
But that's by far not the only problem vets are dealing with.
"They come in and they've blown out a knee ligament. Now they need surgery and we're talking about dogs that are morbidly obese," said Grant.
Grant says it's a combination of improper feeding and lack of exercise that's causing so many pudgy pooches and fat cats, "When we live with our pets we see them everyday and we don't notice those changes as much."
Dr. Grant says you need to start thinking of your pets health care when their a puppy. If you don't she says you'll end up paying later. Many treatments, over time can cost into the thousands.
Grant says, "If the owner can't afford it the most humane thing to do is to put them down. You don't want the animal to suffer. And that is always hard."
Keeping your pet healthy can be as simple as limiting what they eat and of course getting them out for exercise.
Grant also say you should always check your pet food bag for the proper amount to feed your pet.
A good cycle is to feed them a measured amount, twice a day.
If you want to check if your pet is overweight just feel their ribs.
While they should have some padding, it should still be easy to feel their ribs.
And she says don't overfeed pick up that bowl when meal time is done.