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Fat companions: understanding the welfare effects of obesity in cats and dogs

By P. Sandoe, S. Corr, C. Palmer, M. C. Appleby, D. M. Weary

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Overfeeding is arguably the most significant feeding-related welfare problem for companion animals in developed countries. From an animal welfare perspective, the amount fed presents a dilemma between avoiding feelings of hunger and maximizing animal health. This chapter will not only focus on the effects of overfeeding on the welfare of the affected animals but also on how the problem is brought about via animals' companionship with humans. Based on studies of the relationship between humans and their companion animals, a number of social and psychological factors can be uncovered that contribute to dogs and cats becoming overweight or obese. These factors may be viewed as barriers to preventing dogs and cats from maintaining a body weight that does not compromise their health and welfare. In the final section of the chapter, the importance of overcoming these barriers is discussed and ways of tackling such barriers are suggested.

Pages 28-45
ISBN/ISSN 978-1-78064-216-1
Publisher Cabi
Language English
Author Address University of Copenhagen, Copenhagen,
Cite this work

Researchers should cite this work as follows:

  1. Animal health and hygiene
  2. Animal nutrition
  3. Animals
  4. Animal welfare
  5. Attitudes
  6. Body weight
  7. Canidae
  8. Canine
  9. Carnivores
  10. Cats
  11. Diseases and injuries of animals
  12. Dogs
  13. Feeding
  14. Humans
  15. Mammals
  16. Men
  17. obesity
  18. Overweight
  19. pet care
  20. Pets and companion animals
  21. Primates
  22. Social psychology and social anthropology
  23. vertebrates