A Very Critical Health Issue
by Keith Somers / Like Keith & Dog Wonders on Facebook
Overweight dogs was highlighted last year in a story about a 77 pound, 7 year old, Oregon dachshund named “Obie”. The New York Daily News, reported the story on May 2, 2013. After being rescued by a veterinary technician, Obie had lost 40 pounds, more than half his weight in 9 months. Obie is symptomatic of overweight dogs and in the United States.
Read It and Weep
CALABASH, N.C., MARCH 31, 2014—Most of the nation’s dogs are overweight, and a majority of their owners are blind to the issue. New research, released by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), tells an alarming story. Veterinarians who assessed dogs for the recent study recognized that 52.6% are overweight or obese.
“Among all diseases that perplex the veterinary community and plague our population of dogs, obesity has the greatest collective negative impact on dog health”, said Dr. Ernie Ward. He is the veterinarian and founder of APOP. He continued, “Yet it is almost completely avoidable. The pet industry is mighty and well-meaning, but it’s time we stop accepting the status quo. We must start working together to fight obesity through knowledge and action.”
Are in “The Fat Gap”
Veterinary nutritionist and internal medicine specialist at the University of Tennessee’s College of Veterinary Medicine Dr. Joe Bartges, cautions that many pet owners don’t recognize when their pet is overweight.
Dog owners who agreed to have their dogs assessed for the study were first asked to classify their dogs’ weight. Veterinarians using the owners’ data, ultimately classified the dogs as obese. Their findings then revealed that a whopping 93 percent of dog owners initially thought their dog was in the normal weight range. APOP refers to this disparity as the “fat gap.”
Have Grave Health Risks
New York-based veterinary endocrinologist and APOP board member Dr. Mark Peterson agrees. “The soaring rate canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our dogs’ health. There is a vast population of overweight dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a dog owner can make is to keep their dog at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed.” Here are the risks of this neglect:
- Skeletal stress, with damage to joints, bones, and ligaments
- Respiratory problems, increased blood pressure, and heart disease
- Lowers metabolism
- Decreased stamina and heat intolerance
- Decreased liver function
- Digestive disorders
- Decreased immune function
- Skin and hair coat difficulties
- Urinary tract infections
- Decreased quality and length of life
- Increases appetite
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