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Pet Food News / Pet Food Labeling
on December 31, 2011

Petfood companies, pet owners to blame for pet obesity, vet says

Vet says pet obesity problem due to high calorie content in petfood, overfeeding of pets

A Canadian veterinary pet nutrition specialist says pets are becoming more overweight not only because petfood is high in calories, but also because pet owners may also be overfeeding and under exercising their pets, according to lfpress.com.

Monica Snedden, a veterinary nutrition specialist and registered veterinary technician at Princess Animal Hospital in Kingston, Ontario, Canada, says pet owners are contributing to their pet's obesity by “feeding them the wrong thing, overfeeding them, just leaving the food down and leaving the bowl full all the time.”

In addition, she says pet owners that feed their pet from the table also add to their pet's obesity.

“It's different for pets. One little one-ounce cube of cheese is like three chocolate bars. It seems small to us, but for them it is a huge sum of calories for the day,” Snedden says.

Petfood companies are also to blame for the pet obesity problem, according to Snedden, because much of the petfood on the market is very high in calories and fat. It is often difficult for pet owners to find the calorie content on a petfood ingredient label and sometimes difficult to obtain the information even by contacting the petfood manufacturer.

“There are so many companies out there that are making so many foods and they come and go that it's hard for people to know what they are feeding any more,” she says. “Consumers don't know what they are buying and we can't keep up with what's hitting the shelves.”

Snedden says pet owners can help prevent their pet from getting overweight in the first place by closely monitoring its weight and making a change in feeding or exercise, if necessary, to maintain a healthy weight.

“Then we just try to keep them around there, judging how their body condition looks,” she says. “Once they are really obese you are fighting an uphill battle.”

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