With pudgy poodles and tubby tabbies becoming the norm in the US, an iPhone app promises to help keep pet calorie counts under control.
Called CUPetHealth, the $3.99 app was developed by a team of seven computer science students at Cornell as part of a class project and vetted by the university’s veterinary experts for accuracy.
The app is meant to take the guesswork out of feeding for the household’s four-legged companions. After entering the daily diet and noting several lifestyle variables to determine the appropriate number of calories each day, the app responds with “overfeeding,” “underfeeding” or “appropriate.” The app also keeps track of medication and vaccine and flea control information.
While owners may think they know how much food they’re giving pets, a recent study showed that the actual calories in a cup of dry pet food varied widely from brand to brand. Owners who switch from one label to another could inadvertently add 200 calories a day just by changing brands — quickly adding up to weight problems and eventually obesity.
“Nutrition is an ever-growing concern for pets,” said Joe Wakshlag, assistant professor at Cornell’s Vet College. “The Centers for Disease Control says that America has become ‘obesogenic,’ meaning that we live in a world that promotes increased food intake, unhealthy food choices and reduced physical activity. Our pets live in the same world and are suffering the same consequences of obesity.”
Sources: Discovery, Cornell Chronicle, NY Times