In this article I will discuss dogs but the same sort of principles obviously applie to all pets including cats and I have written about cat obesity before.
|Obese dog in Morocco. Photo Jeremy Vandel (Flickr)|
There appears to be a world trend particularly in developed countries of couch potato owners and obese dogs. With respect to dogs it isn't just about obesity. We are also told that many of Britain's dogs are also aggressive and disturbed because they are not getting enough stimulation through play and activity. This is all part of the couch potato mentality which has begun to afflict British people.
The British say that they are a nation of dog lovers indeed pet lovers but it appears that many of their dogs are unhappy because they are providing their dogs with a life which mirrors their own.
The research was carried out by Alex German who analysed 30 scientific papers. Mr German runs a specialist veterinary clinic for obese dogs and conducted the research at Liverpool University. He says that there is a shocking and rapid rise in the weight of the British dog. He not infrequently sees dogs who are twice the weight they should be. Even greyhounds he says are overweight.
He says that there is a parallel rise in the weights of dogs and people. Fat parents begat fat children and develop fat pets. This is because people treat their cat or dog as another child. It's all about overfeeding and under exercising and there's no getting around that simple conclusion.
In Britain 64% of adult British citizens are now overweight or obese. The British are doing their best to match up their pets to the same level of obesity. With obesity comes health issues such as diabetes and arthritis. We all know that yet it doesn't change the habits of the couch potato pet owner.
Veterinarians say that being overweight can shorten the life of a dog and I presume therefore a cat by around 2 years on average. Some British people overfeed their pet by as much as 60%. The problem is often treats. Fatty treats such as fast food leftovers and crisps or biscuits and chips given to the dog is the problem.
With respect to exercise, dogs are being taken for shorter walks. This is partly because many people rarely let their dog off their lead in case they run away or perhaps get into a fight. When the dog is taken out on a lead the dog walks a lot less and therefore gets a lot less exercise. Dogs which are allowed off the lead cover 5 times more ground than those on the lead.
Dogs need long walks because without them obsessive-compulsive disorders can develop such as spinning around in circles. Dogs have got their own Facebook which is meeting up with another dog and sniffing the dog. Dogs need to do this sort of thing.
The cure is strict and permanent dieting with increased exercise but will people do this? As long as people themselves are unable to exercise or eat less it is highly unlikely in my opinion that they will care for their dogs to a higher standard.