Pet food experts: education key to fighting pet obesity
As pet obesity numbers continue to increase each year, the pet food industry must expand its role in finding solutions.
The pet food industry is among the first lines of defense in the fight against pet obesity. As the most obvious go-to for overweight pet lifestyle changes, pet food has long since expanded to include a wide variety of formulations purporting weight control or weight loss, in both specialized veterinary and retail store options. But in spite of the plethora of choices out there for consumers, pet obesity numbers continue to rise. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), which conducts an annual survey focusing on pet obesity, nearly 59 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the US are overweight or obese.
But that’s not all. The 2016 survey asked questions about consumers’ and veterinarians’ perceptions of various aspects of pet food diets — and the disparity was stark. According to the survey, just 6 percent of pet owners believe that corn is healthy for dogs, compared to 48 percent of veterinarians. Sixty-one percent of pet owners think that low- or no-grain diets are healthier for dogs (compared to 25 percent of veterinarians), and 35 percent of pet owners believe that raw diets are healthier for dogs and cats (compared to just 15 percent of veterinarians).
With such an obvious disconnect even between veterinarians and the pet owners they see regularly, it’s no wonder that consumer education has become an increasing focus among pet industry professionals who want to ensure that both pets and the people who love them remain healthy.
According to APOP's…