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February 4th, 2012
07:06 AM ET

Pet obesity: The growing epidemic

Some people think it's adorable. But it's also dangerous. More and pets across the country are overweight, and even obese, according to a new study.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention gave CNN an advance copy of a report due out next week. It found that the majority of dogs and cats in U.S. homes are overweight. Many are dangerously obese. If they don't get help, they can suffer from all sorts of health problems, including crippling arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, and much more.
From across the world, iReporters are sharing their stories about this.
What do you think? What do you want to know? Post a question at Facebook, and an expert just might write you back.

Filed under: Josh Levs
soundoff (14 Responses)
  1. Carol Yonov

    For my two cents, just take a look at the ingredients on the pet food label. Pay attention to the first 5 ingredients and see just how many are not grain. Cats are obligate carnivores and, as such, their systems do not process grains. It is easier to feed dry food, just put it in the bowl and leave it out for kitty to graze on at will...shame on us for not feeding canned foods which are meat based. And, "meat" on a label means any kind of animal and "poultry" means anything with wings.

    February 4, 2012 at 8:27 am |
  2. melissa

    The growing Obesity problem in (people and) pets has little to do with snacking or eating "fast-food" meals. It has everything to do with the food itself. Obesity was never a problem until synthetic foods - genetically altered/modified - entered the food supply. These foods lack any nutritional value. (People and) pets are still hungry after eating their meal, hence, they eat more to satisfy the natural hunger pangs, even after they are full. We had no obesity problem one generation ago. (People and) pets have eaten the same as they always have. Suddenly there is an obesity problem in the US; even the pets are obese. Come on, obese pets! These modified foods are used as fillers in everything - even ice cream is loaded with synthetic "modified" flour - for crying out loud. If you quit eating canned/boxed/frozen prepared foods with this stuff, you will suddenly lose weight without changing your eating habits. THIS NEEDS TO BE INVESTIGATED - who and why is our food supply being altered? P.S. Even Rowanda in starving Africa has refused food shipments from the US because it contains these synthetic "fake" food.

    February 4, 2012 at 8:34 am |
  3. marvin van nostrand

    I have a welch corgie mix.. she is fat... had tplo surgery on rear leg. I am afraid to take her walking for fear of hurting both rear legs... any help??

    February 4, 2012 at 11:03 am |
  4. Susanna

    My cat eats raw food that I purchase frozen and thawed in the fridge. It is free-range chicken (or turkey), a premium complete and balanced diet for my feline carnivore. Her treats are freezed dried chicken, again prepared for cats. I easily obtain her food from my local holistic pet store that is a family owned, small I am also helping the economy as well as feeding my cat a healthy diet.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  5. Kevin

    Pet obesity is caused by the same attitudes that cause human obesity. There are multiple reasons why this occurs, either lack of knowledge, the cost, laziness, or a combination. Most people that are they themselves obese are so because it takes hard work to stay in shape and generally is a little more costly. This country has an obesity problem that affects adults, who then affect children as well as pets. It is our culture that leads to the national obesity problem. I work at a pet retail store and talk to people all the time that say they don't care if their animal is overweight, as long as he is happy. This is a false sense of happiness because animals specifically can't tell you if they are having health issues, until it is too late. So overall I believe it is a cultural problem that leads to obesity in all aspects of life.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:05 am |
  6. sandra wilson

    can anyone state what fruits and veggies are ok for dogs to eat? ny dogs love carrots, apple, oranges, pears etc.. they are beagles and love to eat so it is hard to fill them up.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:23 am |
  7. Barbara

    I have a 7 yr. old vizsla that ran the fields and pastures everyday and was very trim until she was spayed and now she is as round as a susage and very much over weight. Our vet said that when they are spayed that their energy level goes down and people continue to feed them what they use too. I have cut my dogs food intake in 1/2 and now she acts like she is starving and will even chew and eat the sticks in the yard. Science Diet is her food of choice. Any ideas or suggestions?

    February 4, 2012 at 11:25 am |
  8. Elaine Leff

    My chihuahua doxie mix sleeps with us. No matter when she has dinner, at about 2:30 am she scratches and licks me until she gets a snack, Immediately after she eats, she goes back to sleep until next morning. If we don't feed her and put her in another room, she will bark and cry for over 2 hours straight. What do I do?

    February 4, 2012 at 11:50 am |
  9. Randall Staggers

    Barbara, "I have cut my dogs food intake in 1/2 and now she acts like she is starving and will even chew and eat the sticks in the yard".
    Try feeding 3 or four times per day using the same amount. I used to feed mine 2 times a day for the same reason. I now feed them 3 smaller meals and it seems to keep them satified. But it is still the same amount per day in smaller feedings.

    February 4, 2012 at 11:52 am |
  10. Chandra

    Does anyone see a common denominator between childhood obesity, adult obesity, pet obesity? It's food...or what we are expected to believe is food. Consumers should not be fooled by terms such as "Natural", "wholesome", "free range" or even "organic". We all need to be activists and investigators when it comes to our nutritional intake and the integrity of the foods we choose for ourselves and loved ones! Wake up Americans and exercise your freedom of choice while you have it and take self-responsibility for your well-being and the well-being of our Society!

    February 4, 2012 at 12:03 pm |
  11. clemen

    Who benefits from overweight people and pets: food industry, health care organizations, doctor, veterinarians.
    different types of ingredients are purposely put in food in the stores and restuarants that make you gain weight and crave food. Just like the tabacco companies have caused so many deaths off people craving cigarettes, the food industry along with other organizations also have benefited. Many people have become millionaires by hurting others.
    My sister went to Africa for 4 months and lost weight without trying to, because everything there is natural. I'm going to vote for Obama again. I'm so tired of rich people taking advantage of the average people.

    February 4, 2012 at 1:24 pm |
  12. Tom

    Most food instructions are for active pets of a given weight (i.e. the maximum amount a pet of that weight should be fed). If a pet is not pretty active throughout the day, the amount of food needs to be less than the amount for that weight.

    Also, the amount of food that is fed to a pet needs to be altered to take into account those treats. More treats=less food. And many pet treats are very large. I only buy small treats and then break them into much smaller pieces for treating (and training). It saves money, makes treats last longer, and allows more rewards!

    February 4, 2012 at 4:45 pm |
  13. karry

    how much dose cat need to weight for there health

    February 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm |
  14. Dipen

    I totally agree with melissa. Genetically modified grains and vegetables are responsible for obesity and health problem. Even processing mechanism of milk needs to investigated. Normally, natural milk goes bad in 2-3 hours. With refrigerator, it can probably survive 36 hours. Why milk survive so many days in US? Milk in India doesn't survive more than 1.5 days in refrigerator. Most of the Indian population purchase fresh milk every morning. USA should provide option for fresh and NATURAL food. Right now, that option doesn't exist.

    May 15, 2012 at 3:55 pm |

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