It’s not just humans who are packing on the pounds during the coronavirus quarantine — so is man’s best friend.
About 33 percent of pets have beefed up since the lockdown started in March, according to a new survey conducted by Wakefield Research for Banfield Pet Hospital. Of the 1,000 animal owners surveyed in May, 25 percent of participants say their pet only gained “a little weight,” while 8 percent answered that their furry friends “gained a lot of weight,” the data shows.
And the proof is in the pudding: 40 percent of respondents said they are feeding their pets more snacks and treats since the COVID-19 outbreak started.
“With owners spending increased time with their cats and dogs during quarantine, they may be showing affection with food more often,” Banfield veterinarian Dr. Heidi Cooley tells The New York Post. “Overfeeding, not providing enough exercise, and giving too many treats are all things that can lead to weight gain in pets.”
Similar to humans who are struggling to stick to a workout routine while confined to their homes, park closures and staying indoors are also affecting the waistlines of pets.
People “might be finding it difficult to help their pets reach their daily activity goals due to stay-at-home directives, with many pet owners likely avoiding dog parks, going on long walks or utilizing services like dog walkers,” says Cooley.
So before falling victim to those puppy dog eyes again, Cooley advises owners to “make small changes like measuring their pet’s food, limiting treats to no more than 10 percent of their pet’s daily calories and upping their pet’s daily activity.”
If not kept in check, weight gain in animals can lead to serious diseases, such as arthritis and diabetes.
On the bright side, pet owners believe they’re connecting with their furry friends more than ever before.
About 84 percent said they are more attuned to their pet’s health due to staying home, 38 percent reported that their pets are “more happy” and 65 percent said they are showing more affection to their pets.
When things do start to go back to normal, 47 percent of owners have vowed to spend more time with their pets while home, fearing animals could suffer from “separation anxiety.”