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October Is Pet Obesity Awareness Month!


October is Pet Obesity Awareness Month. It’s also a great time to think about the paradigms which lead us to allow our pets become overweight or obese. We’ve all seen pet food commercials where Fluffy races around the corner, and skids to a halt in front of a heaping bowl of food. Some advertisements feature toy breed dogs plowing into portions more appropriate for  a Golden Retriever.  With these types of images bombarding pet parents’ senses, it’s little wonder that over 60% of America’s pets are either overweight or obese.

In their zeal to avoid becoming victims of marketing, many consumers will take what is normally a wise course of action, and follow the instructions on their pet’s food for feeding suggestions. However, the suggested portions printed on these bags are often way too large. Bear in mind these are only suggestions, and many food companies would rather err on the side of overfeeding, as opposed to underfeeding.  Additionally, pet food companies are for-profit entities. At the risk of sounding like a conspiracy theorist, no company is going to print a label that basically tells consumers to consider using less of their product. Generally speaking, I advise my clients to read the recommended feeding amounts on the package, and reduce that amount by at least 20%.  Your veterinary team can better advise you on the best diets for your pet, as well as the amounts best suited for your pet’s individual needs.

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