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Like Owner, Like Dog: One Third Of US Dogs Are Obese, Cats Also Suffer
Science Daily ^ | 2-21-2008 | Virginia Tech

Posted on 02/21/2008 7:53:13 PM PST by blam

Like Owner, Like Dog: One Third Of US Dogs Are Obese, Cats Also Suffer

Dogs and cats that are overweight may be predisposed to develop diabetes mellitus. (Credit: Image courtesy of Virginia Tech)

ScienceDaily (Feb. 21, 2008) — Obesity in pets mirrors that of humans, as do the reasons -- decreased physical activity, age, and an increased caloric intake, even genetic predisposition. Like humans, there are also many health problems associated with being obese, such as diabetes mellitus.

It's no secret that obesity is a problem in humans. Reality television makes millions of dollars chronicling the efforts of Americans attempting to shed excess weight. And every day, new medical research highlights the serious implications obesity has for heart disease, diabetes and other maladies.

Now, more and more attention is being paid to the problem in our pets. According to a recent study published in the Journal of Veterinary Internal Medicine, the prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent. The reasons and the remedies for the problem seem to mirror each other across species.

These include decreased physical activity, age, and an increased caloric intake, according to Dr. Craig Thatcher of Blacksburg, Va., a professor in the Department of Large Animal Clinical Sciences in the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine at Virginia Tech, noted veterinary nutritionist, and charter diplomate in the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

Genetics can also increase a pet’s risk of being overweight, Thatcher said. Labrador retrievers, beagles, and cocker spaniels are all breeds that are more like to carry some extra pounds. There are also endocrine diseases that are associated with obesity that must also be considered and ruled out, before the pet undergoes weight reduction, said Thatcher.

Like humans, there are also many health problems associated with being obese. Dogs and cats that are overweight may be predisposed to develop diabetes mellitus. They may also suffer from decreased heat tolerance and stamina, increased dermatological conditions, decreased immune function, and multiple musculoskeletal and orthopedic problems. If an owner suspects his or her pet is overweight, the first step is to contact their veterinarian.

“Veterinarians are the best resource to assist clients in designing a safe and effective weight reduction program,” said Thatcher.

Veterinarians will work with the client to design a weight reduction program that is specific to the individual pet’s needs. A balanced, restricted-calorie diet should be implemented with the owner carefully monitoring intake and not allowing for free-choice consumption by the pet. An exercise regiment should also be initiated. This should be a plan the owner is willing to comply with and one the animal can comfortably perform, explains Thatcher.

As the animal progresses through a weight loss program, owners must monitor their pet’s progress by weighing and by assessing body condition. This should initially be done every two weeks to ensure the animal is successfully losing weight.

“Avoiding obesity is an important part of the overall wellness of an animal,” said Thatcher. “Pets and their owners alike will enjoy a much higher quality of life when the pet maintains a healthy weight.” The Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine established one of the nation’s first clinical nutrition training programs more than 20 years ago, thanks to Thatcher’s leadership. Today, the college’s programs in this area enjoy wide respect from throughout the profession.

Thatcher earned his doctorate in veterinary medicine and his master’s of science and doctor of philosophy in nutritional physiology from Iowa State University. Prior to joining the faculty of the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine in 1983 as an assistant professor, he practiced mixed animal medicine in Pennsylvania. He was one of the first veterinarians to be board certified as a diplomate by the American College of Veterinary Nutrition.

Adapted from materials provided by Virginia Tech, via Newswise.


TOPICS: News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: cats; dogs; obese; pets

1 posted on 02/21/2008 7:53:17 PM PST by blam
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To: blam

bush’s fault


2 posted on 02/21/2008 7:54:03 PM PST by Perdogg
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To: blam

3 posted on 02/21/2008 7:57:08 PM PST by MarkeyD (Just another country bumpkin looking forward to Fred!)
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To: Perdogg

President Obama will mandate diet and exercise programs for obese people and their obese pets. The federal government knows what’s best for us.


4 posted on 02/21/2008 7:57:25 PM PST by TNCMAXQ
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To: blam

My dog smokes, drinks, chases females and goes out in the yard and barks for no reason. I don’t know who picked up these habits from who, but I never used to go out in the yard and bark. He’s a bad influence.


5 posted on 02/21/2008 7:59:28 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: TNCMAXQ

Could we please leave politics out of at least one thread? Please?


6 posted on 02/21/2008 7:59:36 PM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!)
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To: blam

Over the past 14 months, I’ve been successful in getting my oldest American Bulldog’s weight down about 23 pounds, to about 63 lbs. She is just shy of 12 years old and is doing much better with her new figure.


7 posted on 02/21/2008 8:01:51 PM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!)
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Comment #8 Removed by Moderator

To: blam

Hmmm....my animals all are horny and have bad tempers.


9 posted on 02/21/2008 8:06:03 PM PST by badpacifist (They say your head can be a prison Then, these are just conjugal visits.)
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To: blam

10 posted on 02/21/2008 8:06:14 PM PST by Mr. Brightside ( Ronald Reagan Would Back McCain - http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/1970504/posts)
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Comment #11 Removed by Moderator

To: JustaDumbBlonde

I don’t know...myself, I’m amused by the idea of Michelle going out there and telling people that “Barack will never allow your pets to go back to their lives as usual.”


12 posted on 02/21/2008 8:12:32 PM PST by RichInOC ("Barry O, Superstar, do you think you're what they say you are?")
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To: Mr. Brightside

“Nobody’s sure what happened to the cat....”


13 posted on 02/21/2008 8:14:21 PM PST by RichInOC (No! BAD Rich!)
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

How did you do it? I have an overweight dog.


14 posted on 02/21/2008 8:20:21 PM PST by BunnySlippers (Buy a Mac ...)
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To: Mr. Brightside

No wonder that one can’t catch any of the girl dogs!


15 posted on 02/21/2008 8:26:14 PM PST by Emmett McCarthy
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To: blam

I am doing my best to keep my puppy and kitty well fed but in good shape. Having lost 100 pounds myself, I understand what a struggle it can be. And I want to have them (and my two fish and two birds) around for a long time. Coming home to them each day is great, and is one of the more peaceful aspects of my life.


16 posted on 02/21/2008 8:27:24 PM PST by mysterio
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To: BunnySlippers
I had to start making her food because of allergies. Of course deer/rice or chicken/rice with some added vegetables doesn't have all of the additives of the commercial food, nor does it contain the calories. I actually had to start adding a little lard to the water that I cook the rice in to give her a little more fat content. She also gets a multivitamin, just to be sure she's not missing anything.

The vet says that she is now much healthier, even though at her age she doesn't do much in the way of physical activity. And, maybe best of all, she practically inhales the food because she loves it so much better than anything she had ever eaten in the past.

17 posted on 02/21/2008 8:31:05 PM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!)
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To: BunnySlippers

If you happen to have a Lab....get Royal Canine for Labrador Retrievers and they also have other breed specific dog foods......otherwise Purina OM is one I used to get the weight my dog before I discovered Royal Canine.....OM is only available trough your vet

BTW....I am waiting for my PC to die so I can get a MAC


18 posted on 02/21/2008 8:50:17 PM PST by Kimmers
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Comment #19 Removed by Moderator

To: Kimmers; Morgana

I have two little chihuahuas: Fidel & Charo.

They do not like to walk. When we walk they beg to be carried.

We’re using Science Diet right noe ... the one that is prescribed.


20 posted on 02/21/2008 9:10:22 PM PST by BunnySlippers (Buy a Mac ...)
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To: blam
Just to put things into perspective...

Even 150 years ago, almost the entire world, including America, fought varying degrees of malnutrition and poverty, and dealt with the associated health afflictions. A few hundred years before that, all but royalty lived their entire lives in an undernourished state, always under the specter of starvation. In every period in history save for the present, securing a source of food was challenge enough for people, and "pets" were almost universally kept just short of beasts of burden, or (at best) as companions on the condition of self-sufficiency.

Thanks to science, technology, individual ingenuity and smart work, most westerners - and the vast majority of Americans - instead deal with the ills borne of abundance, prosperity, and the greatest degree of absolute material wealth humanity has ever experienced. And there is so much room for improvement (on every front - political, technological) that it is frightening.

Today, such is the extent of our prosperity that even pets enjoy standards of living, nutrition, and comforts exceeding those not just of the overwhelming majority of our ancestors, but even of many people alive today in other parts of the world. Don't mistake my intent - this, the rise in our absolute measure of prosperity, should be a source of immense pride. The rest of the world (slowly in parts, stagnant in others for largely local political reasons) moves in our direction.

Just think about this again - the obesity epidemic (which rather than hitting just America, is broadly international in character, extending from the UK to China to South America) and its associated problems is almost something to celebrate. We (for the most part at least) have it so good, even our pets are fat!

Where we once fought the diseases of poverty, we now fight the diseases of wealth.

A fat pet mouse.

21 posted on 02/21/2008 9:47:38 PM PST by M203M4 (True Universal Suffrage: Pets of dead illegal-immigrant felons voting Democrat (twice))
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To: JustaDumbBlonde

I’ve been making food for our kitties since last spring. When the chinese adulterated ingredients were discovered, and pet food recalls started, I learned more about feline nutrition and changed their diet. They’re both 8 years old, and at a healthy weight. Our calico dropped some excess weight, and she and her sister are in great shape (for indoor kitties). Callie used to throw up frequently when she ate kibble of any kind. Now they get a home-prepared chow made with raw chicken, turkey, rabbit or duck. No more stomach upsets, and their dinner vanishes almost as soon as the dish hits the floor. Very gratifying, and far fewer worries about adulterated ingredients. I just hope my ground meat supplier doesn’t go out of business for a looonng time!


22 posted on 02/21/2008 9:50:52 PM PST by Think free or die
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To: JustaDumbBlonde
Could we please leave politics out of at least one thread? Please?

Why? This is the way the left begins. A few well meaning human interest stories and then a demand for mandatory gov't run health insurance for pets. They did this with smoking, SUV's, cholesterol and health insurance.

23 posted on 02/21/2008 9:54:02 PM PST by Republic of Texas (Socialism Always Fails)
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To: MarkeyD
PhotobucketPhotobucketPhotobucket
24 posted on 02/22/2008 12:11:05 AM PST by Dick Vomer (liberals suck....... but it depends on what your definition of the word "suck" is.,)
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To: Think free or die
When I first started preparing the dog food, I was cooking the meat with the rice. Then I did further reading and found that feeding the meat raw was better, just as you are doing. Makes it easier as well, as all I have to do is defrost the meat.
25 posted on 02/22/2008 6:09:39 AM PST by JustaDumbBlonde (Don't do anything you wouldn't want to explain to the paramedics!)
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To: stylecouncilor

ping


26 posted on 02/22/2008 3:25:34 PM PST by windcliff
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To: blam
Dogs Rule Cats Drool
27 posted on 02/25/2008 6:32:20 PM PST by davidlachnicht ("IF WE'RE ALL TO BE TARGETS, THEN WE ALL MUST BE SOLDIERS.")
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