Correct nutrition is vital to the health and well-being of companion animals. Overnutrition occurs when there is an imbalance in the body's "energy balance equation" -- when dietary energy intake exceeds energy utilization (from basal metabolic rate, exercise, and thermoregulation).1
Prolonged overnutrition leads to obesity, defined as an accumulation of excessive amounts of adipose tissue. Dogs and cats are considered overweight when current weight exceeds ideal weight by 10%, and are considered obese when current weight is greater than 20% above ideal.2
Obesity is thought to be one of the most important medical problems in companion animals, with recent prevalence estimates ranging from 30% to 50%.2-6 As in humans, obesity in companion animals is a risk factor for many diseases, and there is evidence of decreased longevity in obese dogs (see Consequences). These compelling data justify the need for urgent intervention.