Petfood Industry reported on the pet obesity epidemic, which mirrors that found in the human population. Research conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention finds that about half of all pets are overweight and roughly 20% of those are obese. The APOP has conducted annual pet weight surveys since 2007 and has found an upward trend in the proportion of overweight pets that are obese. It appears that the culprit is not the shift to more premium brands of dog foods (low-calorie dog food sales are up) but that the dogs, like people, are snacking more often and eating more high-calorie snacks than in the past. Dog treats are one of the fastest growing pet food categories and like human foods, often very calorie dense. Owners admit to indulging their pets with treats, and use of this “affordable luxury” may be spurred by the challenging economy.
The solution, just as for human weight loss, is more attention to a balanced diet, which for dogs is easily achieved by feeding a high quality balanced dog food, avoiding snacks, and regular aerobic exercise – which can aid in keeping their owners at a healthier weight as well.