National Pet Obesity Awareness Day puts spotlight on keeping furry friends at a healthy weight


Oct. 14 is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.

MERCER ISLAND, Wash. — During the coronavirus pandemic, having a companion at home is increasingly popular.

But it’s also highlighting a concerning trend— it’s estimated that well over half of all dogs in the U.S. are obese.

The same report also estimated that the vast majority of pet owners don’t seem to notice their pet is unhealthy.

Bellevue resident Peter Nguyen adopted Leroy the Shiba Inu in May.  Leroy was very much obese. In fact, at 56.4 pounds, he was twice the weight he should be.

The solution for Leroy was similar to a human prescription — focusing on a proper diet.

Dr. Jackie Sehn has been operating Mercy Vet in Mercer Island for over 20 years and says staying a healthy weight really does come down to reading the labels on our food. That goes for pet food too! 

“Leroy was eating a lot of kibble and kibble is loaded with carbohydrates that won’t allow for weight loss,” Sehn said. “Raw food and natural foods eliminates a lot of diseases including obesity.”

Over the past few months, Leroy has been on a strict diet of raw foods from a Tukwilla-based company called Darwin’s Natural Pet Food Company.

Leroy and his person have noticed consistent weight loss over the past few months and credit the food switch for the newfound energy.

“He’s even chasing rabbits now. That’s completely new,” Nguyen said.

When Leroy showed up at the Vet in May he could barely lift his head so it’s significant progress to see a 10-pound weight loss and renewed mobility.

RELATED: Fat cat named Cinder-Block who broke the internet with workout routine lives in Bellingham

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