Dementia. America’s pets are experiencing an obesity epidemic affecting nearly 50% of our dogs and cats. Being just 10 % overweight reduces your pet’s healthy lifespan by 1/3 and predisposes him or her to a variety of diseases ranging from diabetes and arthritis to kidney failure, cancer and Alzheimer’s disease. Dogs deemed to be 15% or more above their ideal body weight are defined as clinically obese. New research indicates that among other things there is now a link between obesity and mental decline in pets. This means that chubby pets are more subject to dementia and cognitive decline that those pets maintained at an ideal body weight.
Although hormones and genetics along with individual variations in appetite and metabolism play a role, 70% of the pet weight battle represents lifestyle choices.
The primary problem appears to be well meaning pet owners over indulging their pets with treats, table scraps and over sized portions.
What can concerned pet owners do?
Remember when trying to put your pet on a diet the rule of thumb is to take the total daily ration and divide it up into several smaller portions fed at 4-6 hour intervals.
Eating smaller meals more often helps to boost metabolism and burn calories at the same time.
Always feed at least twice a day and leave meals out 15-20 minutes, never free feed
Provide regular exercise at least 20 minutes twice a day and allow access to fresh clean water at all times.
If your pooch gobbles down dinner quickly and then looks up at you with big hungry eyes chances are he’s still hungry so supplement an extra third of his diet with fresh vegetables.
Vegetables provide bulk which fills your dog’s stomach up, so he feels full.
The good news is veggies are very, very low in calories and most pets love’em.
Keeping your pet’s body weight within the target range for his size increases his or her odds for enjoying longer, healthier, happier years. According to this published study which was supported by the National Institute of Health (NIH) it also reduces the risk of dementia and cognitive decline by 70%.