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Fat cats display pet obesity issue

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Grumpy Cat and 22-pound Lux give the internet some pizazz when people are cruising the World Wide Web looking for interesting photos and stories, but cat lovers see the issues beneath the headlines. Pet obesity is a serious issue that needs to be addressed.

When we stop to consider that adding just three extra pounds to a cat can result in an obesity diagnosis, it makes us stop and think. To consider that the equivalent addition for a person would add up to an extra 45 pounds onto a 150 pound person, it really puts things into perspective!

What is being discovered is that as pet parents gain weight, so do their pets! Dr. Ernie Ward founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) has gathered the results below from a study conducted by APOP:

Current APOP pet obesity data:

o More than half of the cat population in the U.S. is obese with 57.6% recorded as overweight or obese. (52.6% of the dog population is classified as overweight)

o As pet owners weight creeps up so does our pets

The “ FAT GAP” How Owners Contribute to the Problem:

o Most owners are unaware that their furry companion may have a weight problem. A study by Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found a whopping 93 percent of dog owners and 88% of cat owners initially thought their pet was in the normal weight range. APOP refers to this as the “Fat Gap.”

o 42% of dog and cat owners admitted they don’t know what a healthy weight for their pets looks like

o A survey conducted by Harris Interactive for Purina Cat Chow found more than a third (37%) of cat owners say it’s cute to see a cat with a few extra pounds because there’s more to love. More than half (57%) do not measure kitty’s food and another 51% of owners reward cats with treats

Health Issues:

o Just like their human companions obesity in pets can lead to serious health problems like osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, joint injury, various forms of cancer and decreased life expectancy

o Obesity health related issues can also spark changes in a pets mood and behavior; that once playful kitty can become lethargic and that happy dog could become snappy

· Obesity in pets dramatically increases the cost of their veterinary care. The average cost for veterinary care for a diabetic cat or dog in 2011 was more than $900. Surgery, medications and a 10-day hospital stay for a pet is around $5,000

Treatments & Weight Assessment:

A new range of pet obesity related products are hitting store shelves ranging from foods and supplements to toys and exercise regimens – and it’s a big market.

o It’s about what pets are fed along with how much. Purina has introduced Healthy Weight Cat Chow along with other pet foods to help manage pets weight

o The dry cat food weight management segment accounts for about 20 percent of the overall dry cat food category and generated about $700 and grew at almost 2 percent in the past year

o Cat Owners are encouraged to take the “Why Weight Pledge” via www.catchow.com/whyweight which provides tips on assessing kitty’s weight and tips for helping kitty shed weight

Dr. Ernie Ward, “America’s Pet Advocate,” has spent his entire career practicing, writing about, lecturing on and encouraging pet parents to better care for their pets. Besides obesity, Dr. Ward is passionate about training veterinary professionals how best to perform a physical examination; pet parents to deal with behavioral issues; providing answers about surgical questions; and how to provide better care for aging pets. Dr. Ward’s unifying theme is: “Do what is in the pet’s best interest.”

In 2005, he founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention to help raise awareness on the dangers of excess weight in dogs and cats. You may wonder what gives him the basis for his knowledge about this topic. Well, he is a certified personal trainer and USA Triathlon certified coach and multiple Ironman finisher.

In addition, Dr. Ward has been featured on the Today Show, several shows on Animal Planet, NBC Nightly News, Nightline, Good Morning America, CNN and has appeared numerous times on the Rachael Ray Show since 2007. He has authored and contributed to over 65 veterinary journal articles in the US, England, Canada, Spain, Portugal, France, Hungary, Taiwan, Japan and China and has published three veterinary books, two training videos and a dog obesity and nutrition book Chow Hounds (2010).

He has also served as a veterinary expert and contributor for Vetstreet and a Pet Expert for WebMD. Dr. Ward has been featured in many magazines including Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, Mens’ Health, Prevention, Reader’s Digest, Every Day with Rachael Ray, Martha Stewart Living Dog Fancy, Cat Fancy, The Bark, Fetch!, and newspapers including The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, USA Today, Washington Post, San Francisco Chronicle.

All-in-all, Dr. Ward is very qualified and can help you to help your pet get healthier, be happier, and live longer. It is all in the approach!

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