As the Western world, with Britain and the US in particular, becomes increasingly more obese, a new study has shown how we are passing the disease on to our pets.
The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), base in the States, has discovered that over half of all dogs and cats are clinically obese.
This means that the total of corpulent cats and pudgy dogs weighs in at around an astonishing 50 million – and this is in the United States alone.
The study looked at the body mass index of 383 dogs and 133 cats. Amongst the dogs, 35 per cent were deemed to be overweight, with a total of 10 per cent classifiable as obese. Overall, 55 per cent were considered to be too heavy.
One of the founders of APOP, Dr Ernie Ward, said:
“We’re seeing a greater percentage of obese pets than ever before.”
These new figures are a cause for concern, as they show a steady increase in the last four years. In 2007, only one in ten of dogs studied were found to weigh more than 30 per cent than it normally would – in other words, obese.
Dr Ward added:
“This is troubling because it means more pets will be affected by weight-related diseases such as arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure and kidney disease.”
So, what can be done to tackle the growing problem? The answer is exactly the same as if a dog’s owner wishes to lose weight: eat less and do more. Exercise is an essential aspect to dog ownership. It costs nothing to slip a dog collar on your pet, attach a leash, and go for a bracing walk. Not only will it benefit your dog’s health, but it can be essential in moderating your dog’s behaviour if he is particularly mischievous, and it helps to strengthen the bond between him and his master.
You’ll lose a few pounds doing it too.
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