Vets to Promote Services to Consumers with Overweight Dogs and Cats

by | 3 minute read

Treat rewards often serve as a bond­ing mech­a­nism for many pet own­ers and their pets. As ear­ly as pup­py and kit­ten­hood, treats are typ­i­cal­ly incor­po­rat­ed into a pet's dai­ly lifestyle for pos­i­tive rein­force­ment and train­ing pur­pos­es. But too much pos­i­tive rein­force­ment from treats can have neg­a­tive con­se­quences.

In the Asso­ci­a­tion for Pet Obe­si­ty Prevention's most recent clin­i­cal sur­vey, 56% of dogs and 60% of cats were diag­nosed as over­weight or obese. This is of sig­nif­i­cant con­cern because obese pets are at a greater risk of devel­op­ing chron­ic dis­eases such as osteoarthri­tis, and a decreased lifes­pan, reports Cana­di­an Ani­mal Health Insti­tute.

Many well-intending pet own­ers are unaware of the exces­sive amounts of calo­ries that some snacks pro­vide. For exam­ple, two table­spoons of smooth peanut but­ter con­tain 190 calo­ries approx­i­mate­ly equal to the num­ber of calo­ries that a 5lb dog should con­sume in an entire day.

Some Vet­eri­nary Patients are like­ly to do research on the prod­ucts they buy. Accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN, with­in the last 30 days, 67.4% of this audi­ence have used a search engine to research prod­ucts they were con­sid­er­ing for pur­chase. Most (88.5%) pre­fer to search using Google, but only 20.4% will go past the first page of search results.

Oth­er health con­cerns asso­ci­at­ed with treats have been iden­ti­fied:

  • Dehy­drat­ed food items derived from ani­mals (i.e. pig ears) have been impli­cat­ed in Sal­mo­nel­la out­breaks. This pos­es a pub­lic health risk for both pets and peo­ple.
  • Exces­sive intake of treats can unbal­ance a com­plete and bal­anced diet, lead­ing to nutri­tion­al defi­cien­cies and/or tox­i­c­i­ties.
  • Tough, rigid treats can cause peri­odon­tal dam­age and frac­tured teeth.
  • Large, poor­ly digestible items such as rawhide bones can result in intesti­nal block­ages.

How then can we safe­ly reward our pets with­out com­pro­mis­ing their health and safe­ty? Here are a few tips!

  • Lim­it the intake of treats to less than 10% of the pet's total ener­gy intake for the day. This will reduce the risks of unwant­ed weight gain and an unbal­anced feed­ing plan.
  • Avoid treats that are prone to frag­ment­ing, such as bones.
  • Opt for low-calorie options such as car­rots, green beans, or cucum­bers.
  • If your pet is beg­ging, con­sid­er a health­i­er alter­na­tive such as a play ses­sion or cud­dle time.
  • Con­sult with your vet­eri­nar­i­an if you have any ques­tions regard­ing the safe­ty of any par­tic­u­lar treat item.

Pos­i­tive inter­ac­tions with our pets can come in many forms. We will enjoy their com­pa­ny longer when our inter­ac­tions pro­mote a healthy lifestyle.  Talk to your vet­eri­nary team for more help­ful tips and ideas when pro­vid­ing treats to your pet.

Vets can pro­mote their weight-related ser­vices and pet food/treat man­u­fac­tur­ers can pro­mote their healthy pet food prod­ucts to Vet­eri­nary Patients in a num­ber of ways. First, dig­i­tal­ly. Accord­ing to Audi­enceS­CAN, last year, 48.6% of this audi­ence took action after receiv­ing an email ad and 33.1% clicked on text link ads on web­sites. A lit­tle over 37% have also react­ed to adver­tise­ments they saw on their mobile smart­phone apps or ads they received via text last year. Tra­di­tion­al also works on this audi­ence as 64.6% took action after see­ing a TV com­mer­cial last year.

Audi­enceS­CAN data is avail­able for your appli­ca­tions and dash­boards through the Sales­Fu­el API. Media com­pa­nies and agen­cies can access Audi­enceS­CAN data through the Audi­enceS­CAN Reports in AdMall.

Rachel Cagle

Rachel Cagle

Rachel is a Research Ana­lyst, spe­cial­iz­ing in audi­ence intel­li­gence, at Sales­Fu­el. She also helps to main­tain the major accounts and co-op intel­li­gence data­bas­es. As the hold­er of a Bach­e­lors degree in Eng­lish from The Ohio State Uni­ver­si­ty, Rachel helps the rest of the Sales­Fu­el team with their writ­ing needs.