People seem to be handing out too many treats to their cats and dogs, as there are growing signs that household pets are getting a bit chubby these days.
Veterinarians report that 30 percent of the cats and dogs they treat are overweight. Pet-food maker Iams Japan says 14 percent of cat owners and 25 percent of dog owners think their pets are plump.
One reason for the proliferation of fat pets is that many are kept inside and not allowed out. Experts say house-bound pets tend to suffer from a lack of exercise and get fed more because they spend more time with their owners.
They also cite the old adage that pets take after their owners — thus fat people tend to have chubby pets.
Some people say dogs and cats gain more weight due to their prolonged life span, noting that their metabolism slows as they grow older.
Owners of small dogs, which are now all the rage in Japan, are likely to let them get fat because it is hard to determine if they actually have a weight problem.
Veterinarians warn a gain or loss of 1 kg for a 5-kg dog is a huge change — accounting for 20 percent of its body weight — though its owner may just think the furry companion is a little on the pudgy side.
Vets offer these tips to help decide if your pet should shed those extra kilos:
Look at its appearance.
It is too fat if its stomach is hanging down, its sides are swollen, the base of its tail is mounted and it moves slowly.
If you cannot touch its backbone because of fat, it is overweight.
If you can see its ribs, it is too thin.
An effective way to reduce a pet’s weight is to take it out for exercise and put it on a diet.
Pet-food makers offer a variety of diet foods to keep animals in shape. But an official of Iams Japan said, “Foods with more fiber content and less calories tend to be difficult to digest.”
A new product on the market does not feature higher fiber content but is aimed at helping pets slim down with the help of fat-burning ingredients.
“Obesity causes chronic ailments such as diabetes and circulatory diseases,” veterinarian Miori Kusama said.
“It also causes inflammation of joints and makes pets dislike exercise,” he added. “I hope (pet owners) will keep an eye on the weight of their pets in order to let them live long and healthy lives.”
By subscribing, you can help us get the story right.