These days, there’s a national day for everything – there is National Ballroom Dancing Day and even a National Bubble Wrap Appreciation Day and a Paranormal Day. 

So, it should come as no surprise whatsoever to anyone that Wednesday, Oct. 13 is “National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.”

Veterinarians and concerned animal lovers across the country use the day to get the word out on how to keep your animal healthy.

  One recent national study estimated that obesity is diagnosed in about 56 percent of dogs in the United States – and also that that’s the most common medical disorder in veterinary practice.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day,  October 13, is a day meant to raise awareness for the growing issue of pet obesity and help pet owners commit to better animal care when it comes to weight issues. 

Ironically, the COVID-19 pandemic is likely to have been a big help in this regard.  For the last year and a half, many pet owners, who rarely had any time for their dogs before the pandemic, have been walking them three or four or five times a day since there hasn’t been much else to do.

While dogs have been putting in more exercise recently, dog and pet obesity are still major problems and, Ryan Bethencourt, the CEO of Durham-based Wild Earth, a natural pet food company, is promoting the day as much as possible to share information on the risks of obesity in pets, how to determine if a pet is overweight, and simple solutions involving weight-loss strategies.

A press release from  the company notes that, “From chronic inflammation, respiratory disorders, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and reduced life expectancy and quality of life, there are several harmful effects of obesity in pets.”

 It adds that one extensive dog life longevity study led researchers to conclude that dogs fed 25 percent fewer calories than average lived about two years longer than the average pet dog.

Here’s some advice on how to tell if your precious pooch is at a dangerous weight. “Did you know that the ribs of your dog should be easily felt with only about a half inch cover and that a lack of abdominal tuck or obvious waist can be a clear indication of an overweight dog?  Be sure to watch for these signs, paired with low energy levels and trouble breathing to determine if your pet falls into this category.”

Unlike rocket science problems, the solution to pet obesity is not rocket science. Here are some suggestions from Bethencourt:

  • Consult with a vet to determine a feeding plan that’s right for your pet.
  • Stay active and increase walk and play time for your pet and yourself.
  • Try taking longer, more frequent walks,
  • Socialize at the local dog park, or have fun by tossing a Frisbee around with your dog in the backyard.
  • Feed your dog a high-protein diet with ingredients you trust.