Did you know today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day? On October 12, 2016, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) will conduct the Tenth Annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day survey.
Pet obesity is a serious problem in America. An estimated 53.8% of US dogs are overweight or obese (BCS 4-5), and an estimated 58.2% of US cats are overweight or obese (BCS 4-5). Obesity in pets can cause type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, and many forms of cancer. It can also decrease life expectancy by 2.5 years (and we definitely don’t want that!).
Approximately 65% of US households own at least one pet. That’s 79.7 million homes (source: 2016 APPA). In addition, 68% of adult Americans are overweight or obese, which is approximately 148 million people (source: 2015 CDC). There seems to be a pattern.
Here are a few facts:
41.9 million US dogs are estimated to be overweight or obese
26.1 million US dogs are estimated to be overweight (BCS 4)
15.7 million US dogs are estimated to be obese (BCS 5)
(based on 77.8 million US dogs - 2016 APPA)
An estimated 20.2% of US dogs are obese (BCS 5)
49.9 million US cats are estimated to be overweight or obese (BCS 4-5)
23.7 million US cats are estimated to be overweight (BCS 4)
26.2 million US cats are estimated to be obese (BCS 5) (based on 85.8 million US cats - 2016 APPA)
An estimated 28.1% of US cats are obese (BCS 5)
All figures 2015 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
Common overweight dogs are bulldogs, yorkies, dachshunds, and chihuahuas.
Pet obesity is serious. What are you doing to ensure your pet stays at a healthy weight?
Our recommendations are:
Make sure they get enough exercise (walking, running, playing).
Feed them healthy food (like ours!).
Feed them the appropriate amount of food.
Limit the amount of treats they receive.
We offer Healthy Weight Dog Formula, which you can find here.
Sure, there's a day for everything now, but sometimes the point is to remind us about something we need to do... like be sure we have a p
lan in case the unexpected happens (think Fort McMurray).
It's not possible to anticipate every scenario, but there are some basics we can do to make dealing with a crisis easier on everyone. Create a "go bag" for each pet (or one large bag for multiple pets) to store important items so you don't have to collect them from all over the house in a rush.
Don't leave home without collars on your pets, and make sure their collars have your current contact information and their tags attached. Be sure your microchip information is current, too! People forget this more often than you'd think.
Have current photos of your pets on your phone - and also printed out! Try to have photos from a number of angles to capture unique markings and physical traits. Include at least one photo of the pet with family members to make it easier to prove ownership should you become separated.
Keep a copy of pets' health records - particularly vaccination documentation. Also note the vet's contact information in case you're separated.
Make copies of any prescriptions your pets need so if you have to leave home without them, you can get more.
Extra leashes and collars can come in handy and are easy to forget when you're racing to the car. If they're already in the bag, it won't matter.
For kitties, a kennel is absolutely necessary. A scared uncontained cat can easily slip away and become lost.
For dogs, if you have a collapsible crate, keep it nearby. If you end up in a large facility like a school or church, your pet might be more comfortable with their own space.
For your kitty, keep a small jug or box of their favorite litter. An empty cardboard box can stand-in as a litter pan if necessary. A few plastic grocery bags and a scoop will make life more comfortable for everyone.
Keep jugs of water on hand (for you and for them!) for up to 5 days.
Food, bowls, a can opener. Let's face it - we're not likely to keep filling and replacing plastic bags of food for emergency situations. Consider purchasing a small size bag (5 days' worth) of your pet's food to keep on hand just in case. Even quality foods without artificial preservatives have a shelf life of a year or more.
Pet first aid kits are available at many pet supply stores. You can bookmark websites that tell you how to treat minor ailments, but it would be wise to have a paper guide, as well, since you may not have access to the internet, or loss of phone battery.
Know your options. During a crisis, the friends and family you'd normally turn to for a place to stay may be experiencing similar challenges, so have a Plan B (and C and D if necessary).
Check ahead of time to see if your local shelter takes in animals during disasters. If they do, find out how pets are accepted and what information will be expected.
Know what hotels and motels in communities adjacent to yours accept pets, and what their rules are.
Make arrangements with friends who live an hour or two away to act as safe havens for each other should either area be under threat.