About the Nom Nom Plus Weight Report
In November of 2018, we launched our health assessment, an in-depth survey that over 15,000 pet parents like yourself have filled out to date, creating one of the largest and most extensive repositories of dog and cat data, anywhere. The information shared with us has helped us contribute to peer-reviewed pet science, develop new products, and better understand your unique needs. Now, it’s time for us to give back to everyone who’s generously taken the time to tell us about their pets.
Weight issues are at the forefront of many of our pet parents’ minds, and for good reason. Overweight pets are more likely to have health issues and shorter lifespans. We found that a third of the pets in our survey qualified as overweight, and 8% were clinically obese. Still more pet parents of both dogs and cats reported that they struggled to help their pet maintain a healthy weight. While there are some factors, such as age and home environment, that are out of your control, the good news is that there are many lifestyle changes that you can make now to either prevent or reverse weight gain.
Some of the easiest factors for pet parents to control are their feeding habits. We found that both cats and dogs eating kibble and canned food were more likely to be overweight or obese than their counterparts who ate fresh food, as well as those who ate combination diets. Previous studies have identified kibble as a risk factor for cats, but our study was the first to show this relationship in dogs. By feeding Nom Nom, whether in full, half, or topper portions, you've already taken an important step toward keeping your pet at a healthy weight or helping them shed additional pounds.
The amount of treats a pet receives also plays a role in their weight. Pets who receive over 10% of their diet from treats are more likely to be overweight. However, we didn't see a difference between pets who receive less than 10% of the calories from treats and pets who don't receive any treats at all, meaning that feeding treats in moderation is not a risk factor for weight issues. So as long as you don't overdo it, it's totally OK to reward your pet with tasty treats, especially healthy ones like Nom Nom's chicken and beef jerky.
Pet parents should steer clear of feeding their pets human food, such as table scraps. We found that pets whose parents cook or share food with them are more likely to be overweight or obese, and this finding is supported by previous studies. If you do feed table scraps, make sure to keep track of the additional calories that you're giving, in addition to thoroughly researching which foods are toxic to pets while avoiding other ingredients that may lead to gastrointestinal issues like vomiting and diarrhea.
In addition to maintaining healthy digestive and immune functions, supplementation with probiotics may also play a role in keeping pets at a healthy weight. This is because imbalances in the microbes in your pet's gut could lead to a number of diseases, including obesity. For healthy pets, we recommend Nom Nom's full-spectrum probiotics for dogs and cats, though dogs with gastrointestinal issues may benefit most from our GI-targeted probiotics. To unlock deeper insights, you may also consider testing your pet's gut health with Nom Nom's microbiome testing kit.
Feeding practices may be the easiest for pet parents to change, but unsurprisingly we also found that exercise is strongly correlated with weight. Weight is directly related to the number of steps a pet takes per day, but this can be difficult for parents to track without specialized equipment. We did, however, find that the more hours of exercise a dog recieves, the less likely they are to be overweight or obese. Similarly, cats with higher levels of owner-reported activity were less likely to have weight issues.
While these suggestions can help all pets maintain a healthy lifestyle, they're especially important for pets who are more prone to putting on weight. According to our data, as well as independent research from other scientists, these include dogs and cats who are middle-aged, neutered, or living in rural areas, as well as those who have high appetite and food motivation levels.
If you're interested in learning more about our study, including our methods, statistics, and more in-depth discussions of our results, make sure to check out the pre-print of our research on canine obesity, which has recently been submitted for peer review.