Hefty pets may benefit from Ozempic-style drugs, experts say

There is an emerging trend in the pet care industry as pharmaceutical companies are developing weight loss medication for cats and dogs, similar to Ozempic, which has been effective for humans in shedding excess weight. A small study by Okava Pharmaceuticals found that an appetite regulator helped cats lose about 5% of their body weight in a span of four months.

On the other hand, for dogs, pet-friendly Ozempic-style drugs are expected to be used preventatively rather than for treating existing conditions such as diabetes. Veterinarian Alicia Fox-Pitt agrees that by helping pets maintain a healthy weight, these drugs could prevent them from developing diabetes in the first place.

Statistics from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention indicate that a worrying 61% of cats and 59% of dogs are overweight. Apart from pet obesity medication, research also shows that leftover meats such as bacon can contribute significantly to a pet’s caloric intake.

Experts warn that obesity in pets often mirrors how pet owners treat their own bodies. German, a small-animal obesity expert, believes that there is a strong association between obesity in owners and their pets. He adds that the increase in obesity-related prejudice is flawed since obesity in pets can be genetic and complex.

Unlike in the past, drugs similar to Ozempic are considered more acceptable now in preventing pets from gaining too much weight. Weight loss medication for pets has been in existence since 2007; however, pet owners did not perceive pet obesity as a treatable medical condition, causing the drugs to leave the market. With rising awareness and acceptance, it is likely that these drugs will become more popular in keeping pets at a healthy weight. Additionally, German suggests that dogs are more capable of sticking to a healthy diet regimen than their owners.

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