MOUNT PLEASANT, SC (WCSC)- Americans have battled the bulge for years. Now our furry friends are on the front lines of obesity, leaving owners with hefty bills.
According to a recent study by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention approximately 53% of cats and 55% of dogs are overweight or obese in the United States.
"I would say in almost every wellness exam we do it has to be approached, very few have very fit animals and they stand out when they do" said veterinarian Dr. Leland Raymond of the cats and dog he sees.
Park West Veterinary clinic in Mount Pleasant is stocked with fast selling pet diet food, treats and even a weight loss drug for dogs.
"You want to be able to feel their ribs, but not see them," Raymond said as he described a way for pet owners to gauge whether an animal is at a healthy weight. "Cats are different it's harder to exercise them so you almost have to have portion control and diet control. For cats a higher protein diet and less carbohydrate"
Greg Scott knows well the financial pain that can come when a pet's diet spins out of control.
"The food itself is close to 65 to 70 dollars so that probably for this dog lasts maybe for three or four weeks," said Scott of the special diet food he feeds his dog, Farrow, who struggles with a weight problem.
Scott has spent hundreds of dollars to help Farrow lose excess pounds to ease the dog's hip pain.
Farrow has lost ten so far by eating a pricey diet coupled with a cheap little trick Raymond swears by.
"Sometimes it's great reducing the amount of food, sometimes it's adding in things as fillers like green beans are great for dogs they tend to lose a ton of weight on eating green beans," said Raymond. "We've probably seen the most success with that."
Overweight pets are more likely to have arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.