Is your pooch pudgy? If so, he’s got a lot of company out there…over 50 percent of the pets in the US are considered overweight. The numbers aren’t quite as bad for dogs (44 percent overweight) as for cats (57 percent) but there’s a lot of room for improvement.
To focus awareness on this growing problem, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention (PetObesityPrevention.com) has declared Wednesday, October 14, 2009 the third annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day. On that day, hundreds of veterinarians will gather data on the waistlines of the country’s pets. Pet families can log onto the website to report their pet’s size and weight.
“Pudgy pooches and fat cats are now the norm,” states Dr. Ernie Ward, founder and President of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). “This is the first generation of pets that will not live as long as their parents. Even worse, the majority of today’s overweight pets will endure painful and expensive medical conditions – all of which can be avoided.”
What’s the answer? Just like people, pets should eat less and exercise more. According to Ward (who is also a certified personal trainer, USA Triathlon-accredited coach and Ironman athlete), “Your best workout buddy is your dog. They never give excuses; any chance to get outside is a good one for a dog. Dogs and people are a perfect match in terms of aerobic abilities, dietary needs and emotions. If you’re having a bad day, take your dog for a walk or jog. I may feel lousy at the beginning of a run with my dog, but I’ve never ended a run that way.”