According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53% of dogs are overweight or obese. Unfortunately, only 22% of dog owners believe that their dog is overweight. In an attempt to offer solutions to this problem, Purina Dog Chow Light & Healthy conducted a nationwide survey focusing on dog owner perceptions of their pet's weight, management, exercise and feeding habits.
Even when owners acknowledge that their dog may be overweight, Purina survey findings suggest that many may struggle with how to tackle the problem. Of dog owners surveyed who believe their dog is overweight, almost one-fourth (24%) said they don't know how they should manage their dog's weight, and 22% have taken no action to do so. Of those surveyed who have taken action, more than one-third (36%) reported feeding smaller portions of the same dog food. However, this may leave the dog feeling less than satisfied and the owner feeling guilty, according to Purina.
"Providing a healthy, low-calorie diet should be the first step owners take to help their pet slim down," said Christina Schneider, brand manager for Purina Dog Chow. In conjunction with feeding a low-calorie dog food, regular exercise can benefit both the dog and owner. Of dog owners surveyed who report having a healthy weight dog, 61% reported exercising regularly themselves and 77% said they give their dog exercise more than three times per week. Having a canine companion also can be one of the best motivators for staying active, according to the survey. In fact, 79% of survey participants said they would rather exercise with their dog than with a personal trainer, and 68% would choose exercising with their dog over a friend.