Humans aren't the only ones impacted by the obesity epidemic, it seems. Our pets are also getting fatter and fatter.
In 1999, one group of researchers found 22 percent of dogs were obese. They looked again in 2007 and found 40 percent of dogs fell into that category.
Then just last year, as many as 55 percent of dogs could be categorized as obese.
We feed our pets all types of food based on all kind of reasons.
Diane Coley has a three-year-old rescue dog named Coley. She brings her to the dog park for some exercise as often as she can, but she still feels like Coley could lose a few pounds.
"When it comes to what I feed her, unfortunately, I tend to look at cost," Root said.
So many pet owners do these days, particularly in an economy that has not fully recovered.
However, many pet parents have moments of guilt that in cheaping-out, we might be cheating our pets.
"Just because it's expensive does not mean it's the best food," said Dr. Korinn Saker, nutrition service director at the North Carolina State College of Veterinary Medicine.
She showed us the difference a few pounds can make on a small dog or cat. By adding a pound or two, it could take that pet from the normal body weight range directly to obese.
She tells us there are four likely reasons our pets' waistlines are growing. Our hectic lifestyles make it tougher for us to get our pets enough proper exercise. Also, out of guilt for not being around enough, we feed them too many treats, which ramp up the calories.
Some pet parents overfeed simply because they just don't know how much their pets should have. Then there's a trend to throw things we humans think are healthy into pet food.
There's no evidence that apples and blueberries and carrots and peas and extracts have any specific nutrient value for the animal, but they do add calories.
"In many tests, researchers have found that the simpler the food with less ingredients, the better it is for our pets," Dr. Saker added.
She says consumers should also look for the seal of approval from the Association of American Feed Control Officials.
"It proves diets have passed the feeding test and are acceptable for feeding all life stages of pets," Saker said.
Dr. Saker pointed us to a website where pet food is independently ranked for health. You can find it by clicking here.
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