Dog obesity is problematic for canines and often runs in the family! According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, there are an awful lot of fat dogs in North America. The association released a study they in 2019 based on the assessment of 1560 dogs gathered from 146 veterinary clinics and representing 41 U.S. states. According to the results, 36.9 percent of dogs were classified as overweight and 18.9 percent were classified as obese. That means that 55.8 percent of American dogs are too heavy.
Obese Dog Owners Tend to have Overweight Pets
The most interesting results came when the researchers assessed the association between the weight of the pet owner and the weight of their dogs. If we group together the slim and normal weight owners we find that the prevalence of heavy or obese dogs is 14 percent. If we have an overweight pet owner, that percentage doubles, so that now 28 percent of these dogs are overweight. However, if we look at obese dog owners, that percentage rises all the way up to 35 percent of their companion dogs being heavy or obese.
Health Issues in Both Dog & Dog Owner
As in the case of humans, being overweight or obese is not just a cosmetic problem, but tends to predispose individuals toward a large number of health problems. These problems include arthritis, diabetes, hypertension (high blood pressure), liver disease, breathing difficulties, lower immune system function and a predisposition toward certain types of cancer-related tumors. The health issues also cause similar health problems in dogs. Overall, dogs that are overweight have a reduced life expectancy.
Dog Obesity Summary
The reason for this association between obesity pets and obese pet owners was not totally clear but thought to be due to over treating your dog. Obese adults tend to snack more often and perhaps feels their pet needs a treat too. Of course, the family dog hangs around the owner. In this situation, it is likely that the owner feels a bit guilty that they are eating and their pet is not, so they reward the dog with unearned and high calorie unneeded treats. If this becomes a habitual form of behavior, the obvious result is a plump dog.
Whitworth Animal Clinic in Madison, AL sees a lot of overweight and obese dogs. Dr. Charles Whitworth can help you get your pets weight under control and offers a wide range of veterinary diets. Please call our staff with concerns or for information on specific needs for your pet.