America's Pets Are Fat and They Are Getting Fatter

If you think your pet might be too pudgy, you’re not alone. A nationwide survey suggests that more than half of U.S. dogs and cats are overweight or obese. Confusing nutritional advice has made it harder for owners to keep their pets at a healthy weight. Using pet population estimates, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention concluded that some 56 million cats and 50 million dogs across America may be carrying extra pounds. As well as affecting an animal's quality of life, carrying extra weight puts pets at risk of developing health problems like osteoarthritis, diabetes, kidney disease and cancer. It can even reduce life expectancy by up to two years. Nearly 70% of pet owners say they have tried to trim their pets’ waistlines, with varying rates of success. Low-calorie and prescription weight loss diets received the worst results, while owners who simply cut back on the amount of food they fed their pets experienced the best results. Vets agree that the best way to help your pet lose weight is “feed less and exercise more.”