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Fat Dogs and Cats: Does Spoiling Pets Lead to Obesity?

By: Heather Stern

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It is estimated that 40% of dogs and cats are obese in the U.S. Why are there so many fat dogs and cats?

Pampering your pet is more popular now than ever. Jeweled collars, canopy beds, complete wardrobes, doggy daycare and gourmet treats are the norm for today's spoiled dogs. All this pampering has led pets to start packing on the pounds.

What's Wrong With Having an Overweight, Spoiled Pet?

Pet obesity is on the rise and spoiled pooches are leading the pack. The unhealthy effects of obesity are similar for people and pets.

Excess weight can lead to an increased risk for diseases like Diabetes; complicate problems like arthritis; and is linked to certain types of cancer – not to mention making them uncomfortable. To determine if your pet is overweight please read "Is Your Dog Too Fat?" or "Is Your Cat Too Fat?"

Why Are So Many Pets Spoiled Into Obesity?

Many people barely have enough time for themselves, let alone their pets. This means quality time with pets becomes extremely infrequent. With little time to show your pet how much you love them, special treats become a means of compensation. For others, it may not be a matter of time but of love. For many pet crazy owners, their pets are their kids. They want to pamper their pets with tons of love and special treats. There are tons of gourmet treats available!

Doggy birthday cakes, frosted jumbo bones, and giant jerky treats are some of the extravagant goodies selling out. Although luxury pet treats are becoming bigger and fancier, other alternatives exist for spoiling your pet.

Healthy Ways to Spoil Your Pet

There are healthier ways to spoil you pet that can still show your pet that you love him or her without helping them pack on the pounds. Here are some suggestions:

  • Trade up for healthier treats. Fresh baby carrots are a great, low-calorie alternative to fatty biscuits and permit the frequent treat-giving that many dogs have become accustomed to.

  • Make them work for it. Interactive toys keep pets busy while rewarding them with small treats throughout the play activity. For already obese pets, using pieces of their regular dog food as treats is helpful.

  • Forget the treats and get moving. Increasing play time with your pet can greatly increase calories burned in a day. Spoiling your pet doesn't have to involve food. Playing ball, going for a run or visiting a dog park are fun and healthful ways to interact with your pet.

    Changing the trend of spoiled, obese pets requires a change in perception of pampering. It's important to understand that keeping a pet healthy is the best treatment of all.

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