More than half of domestic dogs and cats are overweight
A survey conducted by Mars Petcare on a global level, yielded interesting results about problems in pet feeding.
London, United Kingdom. Many people check their own weight regularly, however 40% do not know how much their cat or dog weighs and 22% say they have never weighed their pet. A new survey of more than 5,300 pet owners conducted by Mars Petcare in January and February revealed that there is remarkably little understanding of how much food cats and dogs need, or what they should or should not eat, and that most pet owners have no idea whether their pet is overweight. While only a quarter of cat and dog owners (24%) have indicated their pets as obese, when asked if their cat or dog exhibited any of the signs of overweight, 64% indicated that their pet currently has at least one overweight sign such as not being able to feel their pet's ribs or having to loosen their collar. Causes The key to achieving a healthy weight in our pets has to do with ignoring "begging" or their "food orders," as well as controlling the amount of food. According to the survey: More than half of dog and cat owners, always or often, feed their pets when asked (54%). Nearly a quarter (22%) of cat and dog owners sometimes overfeed their pets to keep them happy. Only 20% always measure the amount of food they are given. 87%, always or often, give their pet approximately what they think they need in each serving. Another key factor that can be part of the problem is the strong emotional bond between owners and their pets. Many owners express affection for their pet through food, which can easily lead to the pet consuming more calories than it needs. In fact, in the survey, 59% of cat and dog owners said they feel rewarded when they feed them and 77% said their animal gets excited when they do. The Consequences Unfortunately, many homeowners are not fully aware of the consequences of overfeeding their pets. Sixty-one percent of those surveyed are unaware that overweight pets can be susceptible to diabetes and orthopedic diseases, and this lack of awareness is associated with 53% of pets' quality of life and risk of heart disease or shorter life spans. "Like humans, pets should have a healthy weight," said Fernanda Serralta, Technical Service Veterinary at Mars Petcare, Argentina. "However, this is a very complex issue that requires understanding and commitment from both pet owners and veterinarians. Reversing the situation Sandra McCune, Scientific Leader of Human-Animal Interaction at Mars Petcare, noted that the "survey shows that pet owners are open to more guidance on how to keep their cats and dogs fit and healthy. He also noted that "the focus of our work at Waltham/Mars Petcare is increasingly finding ways to help owners know how to keep their pets healthy and happy. In this sense, the results are optimistic reflecting that 72% of respondents said their vet had told them about the emotional and health benefits of diet and exercise for their pet and more than two-thirds of them would like to be advised more actively. This study then shows that more attention needs to be paid to the weight and feeding of our pets as the consequences could be serious. A good start would be to consult the veterinarian to advise us even more on the subject and receive guidelines and advice on a healthy weight and diet to keep our pets healthy.