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How owners can prevent pet obesity

CREATED Mar 17, 2014

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Nationwide, knee surgeries for overweight dogs are on the rise.  Chubby pups can also develop a number of other health issues, and most of the obesity stems back to owners.

Take pet treats.  They are a way to show love to our pets.  But that little treat you feed fido may have a large calorie count and big consequences.

Dr. Ellis Jensen is a mobile vet clinic veterinarian.  He says, "About 50% of the dogs and cats we see are overweight and about 35 percent statistically are obese."

Dr. Jensen says in the last 15 years he's seen more obese dogs than ever at mobile vet clinic.  A pudgy pet could be the beginning of countless health problems--including diabetes, heart disease, and ruptured ligaments.

"The increased body weight makes those hips that arthritis of the hips fail more quickly and leading to corrective surgeries when necessary," Dr. Jensen warns.

Cheena, an overweight chocolate lab, is spending the next few weeks at a clinic recovering from a very pricey surgery.  

Common to large dogs, her body couldn't handle the weight that collapsed on her knee when she fell.  Now she has a metal plate in her knee, and as soon as she's free to go home, her kennel will likely be filled with another overweight dog.  

Humane societies across the U.S. witness the epidemic daily.

Pam Weiss with the Humane Society admits, "We get chubby pets in all the time."  

It can be dogs and cats.  If you're concerned your pet's weight is an issue, look for healthy body signs.  You want to see a neck, a waist, and feel some ribs.

Another piece of advice:  Show your pets love in ways other than food.  That may be giving them attention, cuddling with them, or playing a game of fetch with them.