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Pet Obesity Gains Numbers

If your cat is looking more Garfield than gamine and your dog is becoming too fatso for a Fido, you're not alone. But that doesn't make pet corpulence a good thing.

According to a study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention , 44 percent of dogs are overweight and ten percent of them are obese. Fifty-seven percent of cats are overweight, 17 percent of which fall into the obese category. The study used data collected by 95 U.S. vet clinics in which weight data was collected for 870 animals.

Researchers said the study's population was representative of the veterinary patient population, which is two-thirds dogs and one-third cats. The pets' weight was ranked based on ideal ranges.

Obesity in pets can lead to health problems such as diabetes, spinal disc injuries, ligament tears and early-onset arthritis from excessive stress.

According to Pet Obesity Prevention , it's not difficult to tell if your pet is overweight. Regardless of canine or feline, if you can't feel his or her ribs or if you can grab onto a handful of saggy stomach, your pet might be overweight. Additional signs of a too-heavy pet include no discernable waist and broad and flat back.

How can you keep your pet trim, particularly during the long, indoor days of winter?

Like people, dogs and cats can put on extra weight if their calorie intake is the same and they are not working off the calories. Reduce the amount of food they get per day by about one-eighth to maintain their current weight.

Feed portions of a diet composed of high quality protein sources, moderate percentages of high quality fat and low in carbohydrates.

Instead of giving treats when your dog begs, give them some love instead. Distraction in the form of play is a good way for them to forget they're a little hungry.

Swap out the treats. Try ice, carrots, sweet potatoes or apple chunks instead of processed, high-calorie pet treats.

How do you keep your pet healthy during the long winter months? Let me know here, or email me, at

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