Have you ever thought of your pets as being fat or skinny? A Banfield Pet Hospital's 2017 State of Pet Health report found Louisiana ranks No. 5 for non-obese dogs, and No.6 for slim cats. But Dr. Nancy Welborn with the LSU School Of Veterinary Medicine says while your pet may not be obese, even an overweight furry friend faces serious health risks.

"And I consider being overweight the gateway to becoming obese," said Welborn. "So if we can educate owners when we start seeing the overweight issue, my goal is to never have to have a conversation about the obese."
The Banfield report found that one in three pets who visited their facilities in 2016 was overweight or obese.
Welborn says a healthy weight could prolong a pet's life and delay chronic disease. She says pets are becoming more and more like members of the family, and the easiest way to show dogs and cats how much we love them is by giving them food.
"We tend to give a lot of treats and I think people feel that's okay," said Welborn. "I equal them to cookies and chips, so if you get one treat that's okay. But if you get 8-10 in a day that's like 10 Oreo cookies."
Welborn says another way to prevent too much weight gain in our pets is to read the recommendations on the bag of food, and use a measuring cup before dumping dinner into a bowl. She advises against ever feeding your pet from the table, and it's a habit to never start because your pup or kitten won't know the difference.
"Every diet out there is basically nutritionally balanced to meet that pet's needs," said Welborn. "They don't have the desire to have multiple different things at a meal like we do."