Chewing the fat – taking a fresh look at pet obesity

Posted on June 19, 2019 by Rena Crumplen

We know so much about pet obesity. We know that - put simply - it’s a balance of calories in versus calories out. We know that most pets won’t regulate their own food intake so it’s up to pet owners to take charge. We know that using body condition score systems to assess pets’ weight status is important. Yes, we know so much, and yet the problem isn’t going away.

Why are pets obese?

There are many different aspects to consider. The pet’s genetics will play a part, as will the environment it lives in. The owner’s behavior is definitely a factor – how strict are they about the amount or type of food given? Do they makes sure their pet gets enough exercise (and that’s something to consider for cats as well as dogs)?

Being overweight or obese isn’t just a matter of aesthetics. Carrying those extra pounds can cause - or contribute to - other health problems. At Mars Petcare, we’ve been taking this issue seriously for a long time. Our Banfield State of Pet Health report in 2017 focused on pet obesity, and this year’s report tackles the role of excess bodyweight on osteoarthritis. 

Turning theory into practice

For veterinarians, vet nurses, and vet techs, information is everywhere. But turning this information into practical tips to use in the clinic can be challenging. How do you broach such a sensitive topic with a pet owner? It’s no easy task and at Mars Petcare we want to help the veterinary profession take the lead in this critical pet health issue. I’m proud that we are living our Purpose: A Better World for Pets, by supporting the British Veterinary Association (BVA) and Vet Record to host a roundtable debate in London on 20th June, with panelists bringing many different areas of expertise.

Join the debate

Experts from the fields of pet obesity, human obesity, pet nutrition, pet insurance, feline medicine, animal behavior, and veterinary nursing will be joining the debate, ready to take a fresh look at this complex issue. The discussion will be chaired by Vet Record editor, Adele Waters, who will ensure the panelists challenge themselves and one another. I’m excited to hear the key points from the discussion, and we’ll be sharing them over the coming weeks through video footage and further articles, so watch this space.

BVA and Mars Petcare are working together to examine the links between pet nutrition and human behaviour and healthy body weight in pets. Mars Petcare wants to make a better world for pets, this partnership is an important step on that journey. 

Rena Crumplen

Written by Rena Crumplen

Mars Petcare Global VP of R&D

Rena Crumplen is Mars Petcare’s Global Vice President of Research and Development. With a PhD in biochemistry from Heriot-Watt University, Rena has been at Mars for almost 15 years. Rena has a passion for innovation and a strong connection to the veterinary profession; leading a team of over 1700 science experts with an endless curiosity fuelled by the Mars Petcare purpose: A Better World for Pets.