Wednesday, September 30, 2009


Pet Obesity: A Weight Loss Challenge

Posted: 29 Sep 2009 07:56 AM PDT


Shades of "Biggest Loser!" now we can get our pets involved in the whole "obesity" challenge issue. We talk about nutrition a lot, here and on the pet insurance blog (and I just did a post on nutrition for Shine), and I know pet parents have this on their minds. I know because they talk about it on Twitter.

But, many of us are guilty of feeding our dog from the table - and adding a lot of extra pounds to their girth. Not only is this bad for their bones and their overall health relevant to weight, it's bad because we're often giving them food that isn't right for them. Who knew that dogs could eat vegetables? Not me! We never talked about that during vet assistant training. Yes, we were taught to discourage folks from giving dogs treats from the table, but no one said, "If you must feed from the table, give your dog a carrot or some broccoli. At least it will be healthy food."

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 50% of dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Yikes! At our house, a lot of that was pizza crusts. We always gave Carmie pizza crusts. Now, we seldom eat pizza so, if she were still here - she'd be pretty disappointed. The Wabby doesn't like table scraps, except a small bite of chicken, sometimes.

Well, because of this issue, because we pet parents need some guidance on keeping our pets' weight down, the OM Weight Loss Challenge (from Purina) was created. Clearly, this problem can cause more than a fat belly. Today, obesity "affects pets on the same scale as their owners, triggering serious health conditions that impact quality of life and life span." That means, diabetes, osteoarthritis, lethargy, and just plain discomfort. A fat dog or cat has a harder time getting around, and that impacts all areas of their body.


The OM Weight Loss Challenge "provides the structure and veterinary team support many owners need to stay on track," my contacts at Purina tell me. Our podcasts with Dr. Grace also cover some of the obesity problems and she is very much involved in this challenge. The goal is to feed low-fat, low-calorie diets, with high protein to help maintain lean body mass and optimal levels of fiber. They even have Lite-Snackers...whoohooo! Hey, hop over to the Challenge site, join up, and share your story.

It could help someone else keep their dog and cat healthy, slim, and happy.


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