Have Pets Gained Weight During Quarantine?
It sounds like pets may be experiencing the “Quarantine 15” weight gain, too—a new survey from Wakefield Research Hospital for Banfield Pet Hospital revealed that 33 percent of pet parents said their pets have gained weight in quarantine.
Pet obesity should be taken seriously, as it has been proven to lead to serious conditions, such as heart disease. In 2018, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention reported that around 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs in the U.S. were overweight or obese.
Though the human-animal bond may be stronger than ever, the extended time inside coupled with park closures means that pets may not be receiving the exercise they need. The other aspect of spending more time with pets is that there’s a greater opportunity to give them treats, whether it's through increased training or to keep them occupied during a Zoom call.
The Humane Society of Boulder Valley offered some insight into how pets can avoid the “Quarantine 15,” such as being mindful about overtreating pets, using slow feeder bowls for enthusiastic eaters and taking the time to play. A pet’s age, breed and condition all factor into how much activity they need to be at their healthiest.
Luckily, the survey highlighted that pet parents are trying to learn more about their pets’ needs and investigating what can be done to address them. Banfield reported that 84 percent of pet owners surveyed are more aware of their pet’s health, and 67 percent want to make changes to how they approach they’re pets’ health, suggesting that quarantine may have long-term effects on how people view pet parenthood.
Getting used to a quarantine schedule has been an adjustment for everyone. As pets and people switch to a new rountine during the reopening process, keeping a watchful eye on a pet's eating habits will help clue pet parents in about how their pet is handling the transition.