A Sleek Physique
When it comes to keeping Fido fit, dog owners often turn to
pet specialty retailers for nutritional information and advice.
BY LIZETT BOND
It’s no secret that a lean, active dog is likely to enjoy a vigorous romp through life. However, similar to their two-legged counter- parts, maintaining that svelte canine figure can prove an elusive
goal. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s 2015
clinical survey, veterinary health care professionals classified 54 percent of dogs in the U.S. as clinically overweight.
However, as the humanization trend continues, more pet owners
are treating their pets like members of the family, and that includes
an emphasis on “eating right,” according to Rashell Cooper, marketing director for Redbarn Pet Products in Long Beach, Calif.
“More consumers are looking to premium diets as a complement
to their dog’s optimal health,” Cooper said. “With active ingredients
that help address a dog’s health needs, like weight control, these
premium diets offer pet parents a chance to understand what they
are feeding to their pet.”
Pet owners continue to look for opportunities to prevent weight
gain and help overweight pets return to an ideal body weight and
promote a good quality of life, said company officials at Natural Bal-
ance Pet Foods in Burbank, Calif.
As busy lifestyles, residence in more urban environments and
larger bowls for smaller dogs prevail, the call for strategic nutrition
that will prevent excess weight gain and promote an ideal body
weight becomes more crucial, Natural Balance officials added.
“Weight-management diets for dogs have definitely increased
over the past decade, probably because the number of pets joining
the household and living inside has increased incrementally,” said
Mike Jupp, regional sales manager for Perham, Minn.-based Tuffy’s
Pet Food, maker of NutriSource. “In addition, consumers are more
self-conscious about their own health and that of their pet.”
For these reasons, customers often look to pet specialty retailers
for diets that will offer sound nutrition to four-legged family mem-
bers through different phases of life and health, said Bryan Nieman,
brand director for Fromm Family Foods in Mequon, Wis.
“In a market where demand for variety continues to grow, many
of today’s manufacturers offer diets that will assist pets on their
journey from puppy to senior, and stages in between,” Nieman
said. “Maintaining a healthy weight is increasingly important as
pets age, and we find many pet parents turning to dietary solutions
when a pet is at an unhealthy weight, or beginning to cross the line
Further, common health problems in overweight dogs include
pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease, disc disease, ruptured cruciate
ligament, hip dysplasia and other forms of joint disease, surgical
complications, compromised immune system, and even many forms
of cancer, said Natural Balance officials.
With that in mind, Jupp pointed out, “By maintaining proper
weight levels for our pets, we can possibly increase their life span.”
He added that with the increase in demand for grain-free diets,
offering this option in a weight-loss formula is important.
“NutriSource has just recently introduced a new grain-free
weight-management diet to help consumers maintain their pet’s
weight,” Jupp said.
Because some light or lean diet formulas on the market are not
formulated specifically for weight loss, and a pet deprived of elements such as amino acids, protein or vitamins to lose weight might
not receive all necessary nourishment, consumer education is critical,
according to Natural Balance officials.
“If pets are not provided with a proper weight-loss plan, they can
experience skin and coat issues during dieting,” Natural Balance officials said. “The humanization of pets goes beyond selecting ingredients and following romanticized food trends, and similar to humans
experiencing issues with obesity, pets are facing the same challenge.”
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