National Pet Obesity Awareness Day
There is some discrepancy on whether it falls on October 9th or the 11th; I am writing this on the 12th.
No matter though because as a healthcare provider and practitioner it is my platform every day. Every client.
The reports and research on the detrimental effects of obesity in pets is abundant. Yet, people are either not aware and/or just do not understand the grave significance of this epidemic.
I think too that on some level...it triggers something within ourselves, to look at our own state of health.
In some respects, you would think this problem is more easily fixed for our pets because, quite simply, they are dependent on us for their food.
Are we feeding to much?
Are we giving in to edible treats and "people food" as affirmations of our love versus other forms of non-food reward (and care)?
Are WE being lazy?
Do people know what a "fit not fat" dog or cat looks like in a general sense (i.e., body conditioning scales and scores)?
Approximately 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are obese (Association for Pet Obesity Prevention). Banfield Pet Hospitals conduct a study every year that spotlights this issue. Over the last ten years the rate of obesity in dogs has increased ~158% and in cats, 169%. In addition to being linked to over twenty different disease processes, being overweight (pets and humans) increases the effects of arthritis (aka, degenerative joint disease, osteoarthritis) that is a irreversible by-product of aging.
In other words, as our (and their) musculoskeletal system gets older, there are natural changes that occur - & being overweight accelerates that. Greatly.
Therefore, being overweight increases pain, limits mobility, reduces the quality of life and lifespan and ends up costing more money (as one tries to remedy the pain and dysfunction). And according to the same source (Banfield), arthritis issues have increased 82% over the last approximately ten years.
Trust me (!), through years of discussions and posting online, I know that this is an unpleasant message, but a message that bears repeating.