Obesity in our Family Pets – Why you shouldn’t give table tid bits to your dogs or cats.

Do you know if a 10 lb cat ate 1 oz of cheddar cheese per day it would be the caloric equivalent of us eating 3 and 1/2 hamburgers or 4 whole chocolate bars per day?

Do you know that for a 10 lb cat, 1 cup of whole milk has the same number of calories as 4 and 1/2 hamburgers or 5 whole chocolate bars do for a person?

Obese Cats - Over 55 % of cats are now considered overweight or obese.
Obese Cats – Over 55 % of cats are now considered overweight or obese.
Obese Pug
Obese Pug

For a 20 lb dog, eating just one hot dog per day is the same as a person consuming 3 entire hamburgers or 2 whole chocolate bars per day.

Only 1 oz of cheddar cheese for a 20 lb dog has the same number of calories as 2 and 1/2 hamburgers do for a person .



Obesity in animals is a growing medical concern in the veterinary field.  Obesity is a nutritional disease and is characterized by an animal having excessive amounts of body fat.   Obesity is most commonly caused by an imbalance between energy intake (daily caloric consumption) and its usage.   Obesity poses a serious threat on shortening our four-legged friends life expectancy.  Here in Deschutes County it is no different than the rest of the US – obesity affects over 50% of our dogs and cats.

Leaner Animals Live Longer !! The best ways to prevent obesity in our beloved pets are:

1) Schedule routine wellness exams with your veterinarian to evaluate weight gain, discuss dietary intake, and required caloric consumption.  Wellness exams can help differentiate if this is a caloric intake issue or if there is possibly an underlying medical issue like hypothyroidism or an adrenal gland disease.

2) Limit meals to twice daily feedings- set amounts per meal as established by your veterinarian.

3)  Pick up those free-choice feeders.  Free grazing throughout the days can add anywhere from 30 % to 50 % more caloric intake than is needed per day.

4)  Limit the number of treats per day – unless you trader in commercial treats and table tid-bits for healthy treats like carrots, green beans, or broccoli stems.  Those treats you can feed all you want.

5)  Increase daily activity – Taking your dogs for walks each day or dropping off for a day of doggy-day-care each week.  Spending time with your cat playing each day – Laser pointers can add a lot of daily activity to their lives, as well as the simple feather on the end of string, or a ball/stuffed mouse to chase.

Here at Blue Sky Veterinary Clinic we strive to achieve the best health possible for our clients’ pets and are happy to weigh-in your four-legged friends any time you want.  We will be happy to help guide you in the best diet choices, amounts to feed, and expected weight loss time frame.  Please do not hesitate to ask any questions you may have on your next visit.

Here is to a Happy New Year !!

Chad Moles DVM