Three-year-old Chiquita, a Welsh Corgi Mix, came in to the Arizona Humane Society after her owner fell on hard times. At 40-pounds, Chiquita is considered obese as Corgi’s should weigh around 25-pounds.
Pet obesity is an epidemic that is on the rise in the United States and reinforces the importance of Wednesday October 9th’s National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. According to the National Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats are overweight or obese.
Dr. Ernie Ward, the founder of APOP, considers obesity to be the leading health threat to American pets and sites “the fat gap” as a potential cause. The fat gap is a phenomenon in which pet owners incorrectly evaluate an overweight pet as normal. Survey results show nearly 45 percent of pet owners fall into this category.
Physical signs that your pet may be overweight include an inability to see their waistline or ribs as well as their reluctance to exercise or tiring out quickly from exercise. Similar to obesity in humans, pet obesity can lead to a variety of medical conditions such as diabetes, cancers, joint problems and high blood pressure.
Oftentimes, pet obesity is due to a lack of exercise as well as high-calorie foods and treats. Prevention starts with portion control, limited intake in high-calorie food and snacks and suitable workouts based on time of year and the breed.
Fortunately for Chiquita, she has spent the last two months in AHS’ foster care program for weight loss as AHS’ Second Chance medical team oversees her care and monitors her progress. Chiquita has lost 6 pounds due in part to her daily swims and a portion control diet.
For more information on pet obesity and ideal pet weights, please visit www.petobesityprevention.com.