What to do if your pet is overweight

MILWAUKEE-- Obesity isn't just a problem for people, it's also a problem among pets. A recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that more than half of all dogs and cats in this country are now considered obese. There's also an even higher percentage of pet owners who are in denial.

\"People don't want to admit their pet is overweight because they may see it as a failure on their part. Other people equate food and treats with love,\" said Doctor Kerin McClain, Veterinarian at the Wisconsin Humane Society.

Doctor McClain says lack of exercise and too much food could lead to lots of health implications.

\"Arthritis in dogs, pulmonary disease, cardiovascular disease such as hypertension, etc.\"

There are signs you can look for when trying to determine whether or not your pet is obese.

\"When you are running your hands to the side, you want to be able to feel their ribs. You shouldn't have to put too much pressure, if you do, it means theres a lot of fat covering their ribs,\" Dr. McClain said. Adding, \"you also want their waste to tuck up... if they don't, then they are overweight.\"

Once you see those signs, it's time to start a healthy lifestyle. Dr. McClain says your pet should have some sort of activity on a daily basis. She also suggests healthier treats.

\"Instead of rawhides or milkbones, if they still want to do treats, they have healthier options they can do such as carrots or other veggies or green beans,\" said Dr. McClain.

Most importantly, if you think your pet is overweight, it is important you contact your veterinarian.

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