Nature vs. Nurture
Most pets are always happy to eat, and have a difficult time controlling themselves when their owners always offer them food and treats.
“Many pet owners feel that feeding their pets treats or several meals a day helps them bond and shows their pet that they are loved,” Dr. Grzyb said. “In actuality, feeding too much or [giving them] the wrong kinds of food can be harmful and cause long term problems.”
Leaving food down all the time for your pet, giving them treats, or worse, giving them food designed for humans, can perpetuate obesity and lead to health problems, she said. Though your pet’s ideal weight will depend on its breed, lifestyle, and underlying health conditions, there are tools such as the Healthy Weight Protocol and APOP's Ideal Weight Ranges that can help you assess your pet. Ultimately, your veterinarian is your best resource.