Is Your Pet Fat? If so, Blame It on COVID-19

Is Your Pet Fat? If so, Blame It on COVID-19

People are not the only ones who gained the ”Quarantine 15” pounds during the pandemic lockdown. Apparently our four-legged friends have also packed on the pounds.

Banfield Pet Hospital, the nation’s largest privately owned veterinary practice, surveyed 1,000 dog and cat owners in October and found that 42% said their pets gained weight during the COVID-19 quarantine compared to 33% in May.

According to The Wall Street Journal, the Banfield veterinarians diagnosed 2.3% of their canine patients as being overweight, the biggest increase they’ve seen in a decade.

Working from home has wreaked havoc with schedules and with humans around 24/7, there is more opportunity for snacking, says Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. All too often, owners share potato chips and other snacks with their dogs who are pitifully staring at them.

Ward, the author of “Chow Hounds: Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter,” added that pets feel pandemic stress, too, and like their owners, stress-eat.

Experts told the Journal that treats should make up no more than 10% of daily calories and instead of offering table scraps, give your pets green beans and carrots.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity, a 2018 survey showed that an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States were obese or overweight. The association has many tips on how to correctly feed and exercise Fido to trim him down.

The Morris Animal Foundation says that losing weight can be a challenge for our furry friends — just like it is for us — so pet owners should be patient with their pet’s progress.

The Foundation experts say that switching pets to a prescription weight loss diet formula is one of the best strategies. Other ways to help them shed pounds are:

  • Increase exercise and social stimulation.
  • Use a consistent measuring cup or scale to determine portions.
  • Avoid high-calorie or high-fat treats, even in small amounts.
  • Engage everyone in the family to help.
  • Be patient!?

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