A new survey of 1700+ Canadians by dog food delivery startup Kabo reveals lack of awareness surrounding pet obesity.
Obesity has become an epidemic among not only people, but their pets as well. The Canadian Veterinary Medical Association states that pet obesity is on the rise, with an estimated 50-60% of pets in Canada being diagnosed as overweight or obese. Obesity is a dangerous health condition that puts pets at an increased risk of developing life threatening diseases and greatly affects their quality of life.
National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is October 14, 2020 and is an important time to highlight the risks associated with obesity and the importance of pets maintaining a healthy weight. Kabo's survey of Canadian dog owners revealed that pet obesity is something that people are troubled by, with 75% of patrons responding with concern or sadness when they see an overweight pet.
Fortunately, 22% of Canadian dog owners in the survey received veterinary recommendations for pet weight loss. However, there seems to be a lack of awareness about factors contributing to obesity and how a dog owner's daily actions can contribute to weight gain.
The survey revealed that there is a correlation between not walking your dog daily and veterinary suggestions on weight loss. Unsurprisingly, the percentage of patrons who answered that they walked their dog at least once per day corresponded with the amount of people who have received no veterinary recommendations on weight loss.
Some of the greatest contributing factors to weight gain are feeding table scraps and excess treats. According to the Kabo survey, 70% of respondents admit to feeding their dogs table scraps and 41% of dog parents feed their dogs more than 2 treats per day. These statistics were consistent across all age groups.
"Table scraps are safe if they are whole, unseasoned foods like fruits and vegetables. However, most table scraps from human meals should be avoided as they can be both fattening and potentially toxic," says Andrea Gieger, R&D Scientist and Nutritionist, "Treats are a great tool for training but should be fed in moderation".
At least 40% of respondents from the survey shared that they portion their dogs' food according to their best judgement, rather than consulting the pet food label or recommendations from a veterinarian. This can be harmful as not all pet food is created equal.
"There needs to be an increased awareness around the main factor towards obesity and that is portion control" says Vino, co-founder of Kabo Fresh Dog Food. "At Kabo we use information from the weight, activity level and life stage of your dog to calculate the perfect portion to eliminate the decision of how much do I need to feed my dog today".
An interesting insight from the survey is that obesity in dogs may fluctuate between provinces:
Overall, Canadians seem to be aware of the consequences of obesity in their pets. However, there may be a gap in knowledge surrounding factors contributing to obesity. In order to
help maintain a healthy weight in their pets, owners should consult their pet food label, refrain from feeding table scraps and excess treats, and balance feeding with daily exercise.
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