Here’s a famous Garfield quote: “When the lasagna content in my blood gets low, I get mean.” Words perfectly suited for an epitaph. And given the increasing obesity rates in today’s pets, which coincide with America’s, it seems to have become a modern-day mantra for your average cat and dog.
“I wanna say 40 percent of our patients are overweight,” says Dr. Liv Brockmann of Boulder’s Natural Animal Hospital. “In Boulder, people think of their pets as children and tend to spoil them.” Don’t feel (too) bad. The truth is many foods, especially table scraps, are calorically dense. But the repercussions of overfeeding can lead to musculoskeletal problems, joint pain, arthritis, difficult breathing, etc. “When they carry all that weight in their belly, it’ll cause the back to sway.” Something Brockmann says is seen commonly.
But who says an old dog can’t learn new tricks—or a new diet? To start, incorporate vegetables into your dog’s bowl like green beans (which has a great fullness factor), puffed rice cereal (bottom shelf preferred) or carrots. For cats, wet food is always better because they’re obligate carnivores. Maintaining a healthy metabolism in cats is important given they’re prone to liver disease, and like humans, can get type two diabetes. How serious is this? Well, “very obese” pets can have their life expectancy cut down by more than a year and a half. So ease up on that carbohydrate-heavy kibble, and share a rice cake with your furry friend. Fit owners keep pets fit.