Your Labrador could be dying because of this ONE thing you are unaware of or ignoring

In November 15, 2017
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Several life-threatening diseases and conditions occur when our pets are overweight such as inflammation, diabetes, heart conditions, and bone and joint issues to name just a few. Not to mention they lose out on longevity–something we all bemoan about our pets– “Why can’t they live longer??”

As one who has been involved in the health and nutrition field for years, I naturally have a great interest in the same area when it comes to our pets. I have to, almost daily hold my tongue and sit on my hands when I see photos shared with me in emails and on social media platforms. Obesity is absolutely out of hand. In fact, some onlookers that are non-lab owners have actually told me they just assume all labs are fat. How sad!

I do have a friend, though, that I must say is so horrified and angered that when she sees an obese dog that she will often scold the owner publically and tell them that they are killing their pet just as fast as if she’d found the dog emaciated by malnutrition! I had the embarrassing opportunity to see her go off on an unsuspecting pet owner and was, of course, horrified myself, non-confrontational person that I am by nature.

And I have to admit, the more I learned about why she reacts that way, the more I understood—but you’ll never find me verbally thrashing anyone for their fat dog anytime soon in the local dog park. I tend to think we can persuade people with more education and kind coaxing. But inside—yes, I may be seething when I see your fat Lab. (sorry…) It is truly is an epidemic in our pet population. Check this out:

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recently reported nearly 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are clinically overweight or obese.

Several life-threatening diseases and conditions occur when our pets are overweight such as inflammation, diabetes, heart conditions, and bone and joint issues to name just a few. Not to mention they lose out on longevity–something we all bemoan about our pets– “Why can’t they live longer??”

Pet owners and veterinarians are both misinformed and are passing on untrue opinions regarding pet nutrition for years. The sad fact is, obesity continues to be the greatest health threat facing pets today.

Numerous diseases are claiming the lives of pets due to obesity, and many are related to the strain placed on their bones and joints, circulatory systems, nerves and organs, such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypothyroidism, congestive heart failure and intervertebral disc disease. Not surprisingly, any of these by themselves can make your pet feel miserable, but the worst thing is a reduced life expectancy. Obesity can kill animals just as it does humans.

Part of the issue is that vets oftentimes don’t address pet obesity in a straightforward manner with clients. I find this to be a great disservice to pet owners. Neither does the veterinarian have the experience in canine and feline nutrition to really set out a course of life-long nutritional and dietary changes. Or the owner walks away saying, “My neighbor says…”..or my dog is “all muscle”, or “I’ve never been told he/she was fat before….”

Well, your neighbor is not a vet, nor familiar with your dog’s breed, and most likely has no clue what a species-appropriate diet is for canines. And, no, sorry, your dog is NOT all muscle…don’t kid yourself. And lastly…maybe last time your dog wasn’t overweight last vet visit…but now he’s obese! Whatever the case, its time to face the facts and do our pets a favor by providing it with a long, healthy life by keeping him lean.

One thing all pet parents should consider is that most pet food companies over-estimate the amount of food a pet’s needs. Those recommendations are reflected in their feeding instructions on the bag, which is why you can’t go by how much food the manufacturer recommends you feed. I have many pet parents tell me they feel guilty feeding any less than what the bag says, and that’s exactly what the company wants. But most dog food companies don’t consider the weight, breed, AND age when giving amounts to feed. They, many times, post an amount for a very active dog. One of the reasons I am a fan of All-Life-Stages food is that it takes into account weight, but also age, such as 8-24 weeks old, 12-24 months, then adult (over 24 months). And remember, the amount recommended on the bag is usually for an ACTIVE dog (so unless your dog is highly active at least 45 minutes a day, you’ll need to make an adjustment to feeding less.

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