Our 1 year anniversary in our new house was this weekend. Neal & I celebrated with Chinese take-out, one of our favorites. Not wanting the dogs to feel left out of the action, I gave them a gi-normous dog treat. After eating, I settled down to read through a stack of magazines. I've been promising myself I'd read them for a year. Time to get down to business.
Every issue that I leafed through, had an article about canine obesity.
Recent studies estimate that a quarter of our dog population is overweight. Doggie demographics suggest that the negative changes in our lifestyles, are playing a role in their health as well. Us humans are spending longer hours at work, more time in front of the TV/computer & less time outdoors. The portion sizes of meals have also increased. Often we eat out of boredom & we feel as though are dogs should partake. Another thing is the guilt factor. Both pet parents work all day & don't get to spend as much time with pets as they would like. Therefore, we compensate by over feeding the four legged family members.
Less exercise + more food = weight gain.
Veterinary practices are starting to open obesity clinics to try to curtail the epidemic. These are like boot camps for dogs. Owners are educated on nutrition & exercise while the dog stays at the vet's to lose weight. Sometimes these stints in doggie rehab can last a month or more. Obesity is also causing an alarming trend in canine arthritis, diabetes, and an increase in heart & lung problems. Carrying extra weight also shortens life span.
Dogs don't ask to have their biscuits biggie sized. And although they won't say no to a colossal bowl of kibble, it's up to us to moderate their portions & exercise with them.