Study finds 40% of pet owners point to too many treats as cause for overweight pets, while 65% show affection to pets with treats; 47% of dog owners blame treats for weight problems compared to 34% of cat owners: Hill's Pet Nutrition

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TOPEKA, Kansas , January 18, 2022 (press release) –

As Americans ring in the new year, many have set new resolutions to be healthier and shed extra pounds. But what about resolutions for our beloved furry family members? A new survey from Hill’s Pet Nutrition, conducted in partnership with Kelton, a Material Company, revealed that 40 percent of pet parents resolve to lose weight themselves, but only half of those say they have plans in place to help their pet lose weight. In addition, nearly half of pet parents say it’s hard to help their pet lose weight. To help pet parents jump start their pet’s weight management journey, Hill’s has enlisted world-renowned chef and dog pet parent Alton Brown to join its annual End Pet Obesity campaign, which provides free education, tools and resources for pet owners.

“For humans and animals alike, setting and sticking to healthy habits can have a positive impact on overall health. I know this firsthand from my own personal weight loss journey and as one of my resolutions this year, I am now working with my dog Scabigail to reach her ideal weight with a custom nutrition plan using food from Hill’s,” said Brown. “I’ve learned that overtreating and not feeding the right diet can have serious consequences, which is why I’m happy to be working with Hill’s Pet Nutrition to help other pet owners learn how to tackle pet obesity, so pets can live their best life with their families.”

Obesity is a leading health risk for pets. Feeding a few additional treats or ounces here or there may seem harmless, but ultimately adds up and can have a serious impact on a pets overall wellbeing.

Other survey findings include:

  • Treats = Love. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of pet parents say the way they show love and affection to their pets is through treats, and more than 1 in 5 (22%) say it is giving their pet people food. While many pet parents give treats to connect with their furry loved ones, some admit that treats are often given without any reason at all. More than 1 in 3 (35%) say they give them ‘just because’.
  • Showing love isn’t worth the extra pounds. With treats being a key way of showing love, the majority of pet parents (61%) shared they would stop giving too many treats if they were aware their pet needed to lose weight.
  • Despite the love they show, pet parents do recognize the repercussions of overtreating pets. Those with overweight pets primarily blame it on giving them more treats lately (40%). Those with dogs are more likely to blame treats than those with cats (47% vs. 34%).
  • Keeping up with resolutions remains a challenge for pets and their parents alike. Only about one-third (30% for pet parents; 35% for pets) are likely to make their 2022 resolutions a reality.

“Even a little extra weight on a pet can have a big impact on their overall quality of life. Astoundingly, 90 percent of pet parents with an overweight pet do not realize it1.. It is Hill’s goal to help pet parents feel empowered and prepared to proactively discuss their pet’s weight with their veterinarian,” said Dr. Karen Shenoy, Hill’s US Chief Veterinary Officer. “As part of our commitment to ending pet obesity, Hill’s has developed easy guides and tools designed to quickly gauge a pet’s current body condition and provide tips around how to address the added weight. A consultation with a veterinarian can then provide further insights on the ideal weight for a pet’s breed and size and open up a dialogue so that the pet’s veterinarian can work with the pet parent to map out an appropriate plan for optimal nutrition and physical activity.”

Hill’s End Pet Obesity campaign provides pet parents with various ways to assist their pet on their weight management journey:

  • Check Your Pet: Pet owners can check their pet’s body condition by using Hill’s easy-to-use body shape assessment tool that shows a pet’s results plus a recommendation for what to do next.
  • Schedule A Vet Visit: Pet owners should always consult their veterinarian if they have concerns about their pet’s weight. Hill’s recommends starting the conversation with these questions:
    1. Is my pet at their ideal weight?
    2. How can I help my pet reach their ideal weight?
    3. How can food help manage a pet’s weight?
  • Start With The Right Food: Hill’s has a variety of products that can help your pet achieve a healthy weight.
  • Enter Hill’s Pampered Pet Package: Hill’s invites pet owners to check their pets weight for a chance to win Hill’s Pampered Pet Package Sweepstakes. The grand prize includes a $5,000 check that can be used towards Hill’s food, vet wellness visits and grooming. Hill’s is also giving away thousands of other prizes for select winners.

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Jason Irving
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