Is Your Dog Fat?

The Lempert Report
July 31, 2017

A new study shows the nationwide obesity epidemic now includes our dogs & cats.

According to CBS News correspondent Don Dahler, "Overweight and obesity in our cats and dogs has increased by 160 to 170 percent," according to Dr. Kirk Breuninger, the lead veterinary researcher behind a study by Banfield Pet Hospital.  According to the research, one out of three cats and dogs are overweight," the report attributes this increase to a number of factors: lack of exercise, too much food and a changing attitude towards our pets.  

Just take a look around. Owners carrying their dogs, of all sizes, so they don’t have to walk across the street. People bringing their pets with them everywhere, especially restaurants – often to make the owners feel better rather than the dog or cat. In fact, I suppose, those pets being dragged into bars and restaurants would much rather be at home sleeping or playing in the comfort they are used to rather than being stared at and almost stepped on by other restaurant patrons. 

The problem is, according to the study, "we are starting to consider pets more and more to be members of our family and we like to communicate with them and show our affection to them by offering them treats and it can be pretty easy for us to offer too many treats in a single day to our pets," just like a parent giving their child a bottle, or a piece of fruit or chocolate bar to induce quiet time.

So what’s the downside to treating your pets like humans?

Dr. Breuninger says we are about to see increased levels of heart disease and respiratory disease and Type 2 diabetes is something that we will see with cats that are obese, and other diseases that are linked with dogs being overweight. 

Pet nutrition has come a long way – but still odds are it's about to become even more personalized with lower fat and higher nutrients being offered creating even more of an opportunity for grocers to compete with the likes of PetSmart.