Published on November 10, 2018
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How did so many of our pets get so overweight?
In August, 2018, a woman named Susan Jenks of the New York Times published a story entitled “Our Fat Pets.” She shared statistics that 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in America are at unhealthy weights. She quoted the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention that classifies more than 100 million dogs and cats in America as overweight.
Pets (and all animals) become overweight the same way people do: Too many calories, too little exercise, too frequent feedings, and consuming table scraps or foods made for people (just as people eat others’ leftovers after finishing off their own plates).
All pet owners (including me; I have 2 dogs) consider their pets family, and love them just as much! They treat them as part of the family, too, however – especially the family dog, where there is often a deeper, emotional and psychological bond between them and humans. Owners often overindulge their pets as a way of expressing love to them through food . . . and this is exactly what so many adults do with their children.
We have an epidemic of child obesity, and we have an epidemic of pet obesity. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
Since the very first days of the childhood obesity epidemic the writing was on the wall: It is adults who were enabling their over-fat and related illnesses. After all, children can’t overeat if parents don’t let it happen.
So too goes the pet obesity issue: Who’s controlling the kibble? Who’s in charge of the can opener?
Finally, as adults become more overweight and obese, much of the time they become more sedentary – sometimes out of laziness and fatigue and sometimes because of feet, ankle, hip and joint pain – and they are, therefore, less inclined to walk their dogs. If they live in a house, they can easily choose to let a dog out into the backyard to pee and poop, but that’s certainly not the exercise they need. If they live in an apartment, they can have others walk their dogs or walk their dog the shortest possible distance and for the least amount of time it takes for them to do relieve themselves.
Your attitudes towards food and exercise are responsible for how overweight you are, how overweight your kids are, and your pets as well.
From the earliest ages, we teach our kids to be responsible and caring with our pets, don’t we? That means we should care well for animals and never mistreat them. Letting your pet become overweight or obese is mistreating them.