We humans know that a few extra pounds can make a big difference when it comes to our health, but our pups are unaware and unable to make their own lifestyle decisions. According to the CDC, 69% of US adults over age 20 were overweight or obese as of 2012. As our waistlines grow, it seems our pets’ do as well.
Those of us who overindulge ourselves also tend to have the same bad habit when it comes to our pets, a University of Melbourne research team has found. The same pawrents who overfeed are also less likely to provide their pets with adequate exercise. While the findings of Dr. Peter Sande and his colleagues aren’t all that shocking, they ARE cause for concern.
Overweight dog owners are more likely to spoil their pets with treats and underestimate just how heavy they are getting. They tend to have the mindset that their pets are equally deserving of indulgences that lead to weight gain.
While our pups definitely enjoy a few extra snacks and snuggles on the couch, overeating and lack of exercise significantly impact their health.
Arthritis, Diabetes, heart disease and liver disease are all risk factors for overweight and obese pets. Not to mention that excess weight decreases their ability to enjoy everyday pleasures like playing fetch or taking a walk on a hot day. We all want our dogs to live long, happy lives by our sides, but each small concession that we make can result in more pounds and less time with our pups.
Humans are free to make our own decisions regarding diet and exercise, but we must remember that our pets are 100% at our mercy for every facet of their lives. Choosing to live a healthier lifestyle trickles down to our pups, and small changes can go a long way. After a hard day, a rejuvenating walk around the block together can be even more relaxing than crashing on the couch. Instead of sharing dinner, we can bond with our dogs during a fun play session.
Dr. Leonie Richards, also of the University of Melbourne, notes that “A dog shouldn’t look like a coffee table.” Dogs with healthy body condition scores have visible waistlines and easily palpable ribs and backbones. The chart below demonstrates what to look for when assessing your dog’s weight.
H/T to dailymail.uk
Featured image via @shailafitness /Instagram