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It’s an Epidemic! Dog Obesity Hits America!

By Hausofpaws @hausofpaws

It’s an Epidemic! Dog Obesity hits America!

"Jumbo" Jack Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from London who took on the Pet Fit Club Challenge  | photo: PDSA

Today is National Pet Obesity Awareness Day here in the US. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that over 50 percent of dogs are overweight, and over 20 percent are obese. With a
 growing epidemic of overweight dogs on the rise, there is true concern in the Pet Community. 

Case in point, take the U.K.'s PDSA, a veterinarian charity organization that recently ran a Pet Fit Club, a six-month diet and exercise regimen they conducted for dogs. The winner of this contest is "Jumbo" Jack, a morbidly obese 7-year old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel from London who took on the battle-of-the-bulge. 

It’s an Epidemic! Dog Obesity hits America!

"Jumbo" Jack after his weight loss | photo: PDSA

Stats on “Jumbo” Jack: Starting weight: 45 lbs (20.5kg) % overweight:105% Ideal weight: 22 lbs. (10kg) Finishing weight: 31 lbs.(14.15kg) Total weight lost: 14 lbs (6.35kg)  (31%) Waist decrease: 7.87 in. (20cm)
The final result is a 31% loss in body weight in 31lbs (20.5kg) and renamed “Jumping Jack Flash.”  It is recommended by the PDSA that dogs should be commercial dog food over allowing your dog to eat food scraps from the dinner table.
“Jumbo” Jack started at a whopping 45lbs (20.5kg) and was reportedly not able to lie down properly or exercise. According to PDSA, "Jumbo' Jack's owner Rose said: “The difference in Jack is phenomenal – people actually think he’s a different dog! He was so sad before when he couldn’t join in and play with our other dogs, but now he’s so happy and lively.
“My advice to anyone with a pet that’s on the porky side is to go to your vet, and don’t delay. They won’t judge you, and can give you professional advice about a healthy target weight, how much to feed them, exercise, so that your pet can lose weight quickly and safely. Having regular monitoring and opportunities to ask questions was invaluable.”

It’s an Epidemic! Dog Obesity hits America!

Other obese participants taking part in the Pet Fit Club: Before | photo: PDSA

Consequences: You would want your beloved pet to live as long as they can right?  But being overweight had proved to shorten their life span, along with medical problems such as, osteoarthritis, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, breathing problems and kidney disease. Essentially, similar symptoms as humans.

Pets can’t feed themselves so owners are enabling their pet diet to go out of control.  It’s ultimately the owner’s responsibility and their duty to stop it. Ward agrees. “Pet obesity is plainly a people problem, not a pet problem. The most important decision pet owners make each day regarding their pet’s health is what they choose to feed it,” according to the Atlantic

It’s an Epidemic! Dog Obesity hits America!

A success story of a participant taking part in the Pet Fit Club: After | photo: PDSA

Cut the treats and give your dog exercise: Treats are still the main factor in weight gain in pets.  In October 2011, an online poll conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention of 210 pet owners found that 93 percent of all dog owners gave treats. “Treats are the silent saboteur of slimming down.” remarks Ward. “Those tiny treats are often hiding a significant amount of calories.” So what should we give dogs as better treats? Single-ingredient rewards treats works best Wards suggests.  For example, string beans, broccoli, baby carrot are great choices.
The study as mentioned above also shows that with only 6 months of exercise, a pet can go back to its healthy being. So start exercising your pet! 
Source Content: The AtlanticThe Association for Pet Obesity Prevention | PDSA
Source Photos: PDSA

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