You are viewing this article in the archives. For the latest breaking news and updates in Ann Arbor and the surrounding area, see
Posted on Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 8:40 a.m.

Purina and Jenny Craig create program to help address pet obesity

By Lorrie Shaw


flickr photo by Tobyotter

One thing that invariably comes up in conversation whether I'm talking with those who share life with animals (or if they are clinicians), is an epidemic that is costing pets and their humans big: obesity.

A study by the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 55 percent of dogs and 54 percent of cats are either overweight or obese.

Not a health condition in itself as one might be led to think (it's a result of indulgent behavior, really), obesity in pets can be managed — even avoided — with mindfulness and care.

With pets, I'll often hear how a pet looks when it comes to their weight problem. The real issue isn't skin deep — it what's happening on the inside that's scary. Complications from carrying extra weight like arthritis and a shortened lifespan are troubling and unnecessary.

Barring any chronic medical conditions (for example, Cushing's syndrome), the cause of obesity in pets is simple: humans.

We control what our pets eat, from the quality of food to the quantity. Pets don't become obese on their own.

Yes, I know, they "look" hungry, they love treats, they beg. In truth, we love to indulge our pets. It feels good to see their gleeful expressions when we give them food.

The amount of food that actually need is surprising.

I cannot tell you the number of times that I've been at the vet's office and heard staff say to a client, "Here's a measuring cup, marked with the proper amount of food that your dog/cat needs. They need X number of cups per day. That's all."

The aghast expressions of the client always gets me.

Coupled with the excess food intake, the lack of activity that most pets get each day, greatly contributes to the numbers of pudgy pets.

The solution?

Less food, more activity. (Does this equation sound familiar?)

Two well-known companies are working to get pet owners on board when it comes to taking responsibility for their pet's weight problem.

Purina and Jenny Craig are collaborating on a program that will help make it easier, with online tools and educational materials. Project Pet Slim Down is an interactive program that enables people to team up with their veterinarians to achieve the weight management goals that they've set for their pets in an engaging and mindful way.

Click here for more information on Project Pet Slim Down.

Lorrie Shaw is lead pets blogger on and owner of Professional Pet Sitting. Follow her pet adventures on Twitter.



Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 4:19 p.m.

The cause of all People and Pet obesity was revealed in Denmark: Europe It is FOOD CHEMICALS! The Anti Obesity drug makers and diabetes drug makers take in 10 billion$$$$ every year with no cure!! Food Chemicals are the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis The FDA and Drug makers know this and are laughing to the Billionaire$$$ bank The food chemicals break the gut(insulin) and this is the cause of the diabetes and obesity crisis A filmmaker has been reversing diabetes and Obesity WITHOUT MEDICATIONS in now 10 countries and the drug makers do not promote the story This was revealed on the Lesson on Thin People&quot; on Midland News Click here <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>


Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 3:40 p.m.

Feed your pets the food they evolved to eat rather than the grain-filled garbage Purina sells and that will fix the problem. Much like ditching grains helps human health. <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a>

Bertha Venation

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 2:54 p.m.

Not surprising. However, just because Jenny Craig food LOOKS like Alpo. I'm not sure I'd even feed it to my dog!

Sarah Rigg

Wed, Feb 1, 2012 : 2:38 p.m.

I wouldn't trust Jenny Craig to clean my bathroom much less slim down my pet. They can't make humans slim permanently (see here:<a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> and here: <a href="" rel='nofollow'></a> so why should I trust their advice about pets? I'm super-skeptical if you can't tell...