POSTED: Monday, January 23, 2012 - 12:37am
UPDATED: Friday, August 31, 2012 - 2:39pm
EL PASO- New research says that 55% of dogs and 54% of cats in the U.S. are obese or overweight according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
It seems like we might be giving our pets too many treats and not enough exercise. Bottom line is pets are battling excess weight and it can lead to serious health problems.
So how can you as a pet owner get your pet to lose that weight and eat better? Pet owners might treat cats and dogs like part of the family. According to the American Pet Products Association, we spend on our pets just as if they were a member of the family too.
Pet experts say obesity is one of the biggest reasons for those rising vet bills. So how can you tell if you pet needs to lose a few? " I usually tell my clients it really doesn't matter what the number is it matters whether they meet these three criteria in my mind, so as long as you can feel the ribs without having to dig into em, um you can have an hour glass figure from the last rib to the hip when you're looking down on em and tucked in tummy," says Vet Annette Davis.
Many owners think that by overfeeding and giving treats, they're showing their pet love. But experts say the truth is you could be shortening their lives. Pets are susceptible to diseases just like we are."Pets can get Diabetes and Pancreatic and Liver Disease and Kidney Disease and Heart Disease and all of those are made worse or brought on because of obesity."
Starting a healthy lifestyle when the pets are young is so important. "Think that's a perfect way to start your puppy so whenever they get older they're already stronger and know what to do," said Abraham Rocha. Abraham and his mom just got their puppy Bella a month ago. They say they only feed the dog twice a day and walk her twice a week.
Doctor Davis says everything in moderation is key. " Maintain a good diet, you know food that is dog food, not table food, not a whole lotta treats, a good exercise program."
Doctor Davis is a vet at Northeast Veterinary Clinic.