Research: Holiday Indulgences Can Be Dangerous to Pets

Lori Ennis
by Lori Ennis
We tend to overindulge over the holiday season, and we share this bad habit with our pets. But new research shows that doing so may lead to serious health conditions, and we should exercise caution during the holidays.

It’s the typical Norman Rockwell-type scenario… the family all gathered cheerily around the table for a holiday feast with all the family pets anxiously awaiting scrumptious holiday snacks, and us generously giving in the spirit. Doing so, however, may not be as kind as we think to our pets, as this indulgent feeding we tend to give our pets during the holiday season could lead to diabetes.

Research out of the UK shows that pets are getting diabetes at a higher rate than ever before, and most of those pets are overweight as well. In the UK, 1 of ever 300 dogs and 1 of every 200 cats is believed to be affected, with over 20 million pets in total facing this issue. it is believed that over 20 million pets have diabetes.

Related: Weighty Facts about Feline Obesity

Dogs and cats face similar diabetes risk as it is more common in overweight people (and pets), so veterinarians are suggesting that humans watch the amounts and types of food they give their furry friends during the holidays, and to watch out for signs of diabetes like frequent urination, changes in appetite and unusual thirstiness. If any of these symptoms appear, pet owners are advised to seek treatment immediately, as though diabetes in pets can typically be managed once diagnosed, if not discovered early, can be life-threatening.

Age, genetics and lifestyle of pet of course plays a part in risk factor for diabetes, but diabetes is prevalent in Cocker Spaniels, Golden Retrievers, Yorkshire Terriers, Pomeranians, and Dachshunds, as well as Burmese and Abyssinian breed cats.

Breed aside, though, data from a well-known pet insurance agency is showing that in the last five years, the incidences of diabetes in pets have increased over 900%. The research showed that cats have seen a 1,161% increase in diabetes while dogs have seen an increase of 850%. In fact, in 2015, the veterinarian charity People’s Dispensary For Sick Animals (PDSA) released a report in which they estimated that by 2020, it would be more common to see an obese pet than it would be to see a healthy one, and this obesity epidemic is now leading to the astronomical increases in pet diabetes.

Related: Tipping The Scale For Fat Dogs

People are increasingly feeding their pets ‘people food,’ and the holiday season is notorious for extra treats from the table, but this indulgence during the holidays (and any time, really) can lead to obesity and diabetes, which of course threatens the lifespan of pets.

Veterinarians generally agree that prevention of diabetes is better than having to treat it, and advise that pet owners follow the food guidelines on the food packages, as well as cutting out treats, particularly ‘table scraps’ that are often high in calories. Doing so can prevent other weight-related illnesses as well, including joint and arthritic pains, and can lengthen the time you have with your pet.

So, go ahead…indulge a little this holiday season. Just be sure to keep those treats to yourself, and instead indulge Fido in lots of extra love and pets this holiday season. We promise, he’ll love that just as much, and it’s way better for him too!

[Source: Diabetes Forum]

Lori Ennis
Lori Ennis

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