Adult obesity has risen to 38% of Americans, according to a recent New York Times article. This rise in obesity occurs at the same time as Americans are consuming fewer sodas, sugars, and trans-fats. Obviously, the root causes of the obesity was misidentified, but scientists are at a loss for an explanation.
Unfortunately, American pets are experiencing the same rise in obesity as their human counterparts. In a 2014 report by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), almost 60% of pets are overweight.
According to the report, 17.6% of dogs and 28.1% of cats qualified as obese in 2014. This is an increase from 2013 when 16.7% of dogs and 27.4% of cats were obese. So what’s the reason?
A major part of the rise in obesity is that people can’t accurately identify an obese dog or cat. If a vet tells a pet owner their pet needs to lose weight, it is hard for them to believe it because they simply can’t see it. Many pet owners drastically overestimate the amount of exercise their pet gets and underestimate the amount of calories they receive.
So, denial is a hard obstacle to overcome. It becomes even harder to breach the topic, however, when an obese animal is owned by an over-nourished pet owner. Many clients will take this discussion as an attack on their weight, rather than an effort to address their pets’ health. Terms like obese, weight, or weight loss strike a nerve that makes the discussion difficult. Using other terms, like fitness or achieving better fitness, are often better alternatives that allow serious discussion that could improve many pets’ lives.
It’s crucial for your pet to achieve a higher level of fitness. Fat is key hormone trigger that causes inflammation and a host of other diseases. With less fat, your furry friend will live a longer and healthier life. And let us know, how would you want your veterinarian to address an overweight pet?