- Pet

Is Your Excess Weight Harming Your Pet?

The obesity trend in humans, as you have probably heard, is not going in the right direction. Currently, statistics show that two thirds of North Americans are considered over weight, and half of those individuals are in the obese range.

While this kind of worrisome health problem is going to put some heavy pressure on our medical system, the collateral damage also needs to be taken into consideration.

Research demonstrates that a person’s excess weight can have damaging effects on those around him or her, including house pets, a problem that is more prevalent than people are aware of. In fact, there appears to be a direct relationship between the degree of excess weight in pets and their owner, more so between dogs and their owners than cats and their owners.

Surprisingly, study results also demonstrate a reluctance on the part of dog owners when it comes to recognizing the fact that their animals are overweight.

Unfortunately, the negative health issues linked with obesity in humans can also affect their furry friends who suffer from excess weight. For instance, canine obesity has been found to be associated with musculoskeletal disorders, cardiovascular problems, hypothyroidism, glucose intolerance, oral disease, diabetes mellitus, osteoarthritis, as well as other obesity-related afflictions.

So, what is potentially at the root of this overweight pet phenomenon?

Generally, it is believed that a high degree of pet attachment coupled with lower general social support is believed to be a determining factor. This can breed a very strong human-pet bond.

Correspondingly, data is pointing towards the notion that people that have an intense love for their pets are more likely to show that love through extra treats and food from the table. Compounding this effect is the observation that owners of obese dogs tend to interpret their pets’ every need for attention as a request for food. This is apparently partially due to dog owners’ transference of their own eating and lifestyle habits onto their pets.

Physical activity also has an influence on pet health.

Research demonstrates that cat owners are similar to non-pet owners when it comes to physical activity like walking. The phenomenon might merely be related to the fact that cats rarely need walking, so owners don’t get out as much.

Study data has shown that dog owners were slightly less inclined to use walking as a means of transportation compared with non-pet owners. However, dog owners are more likely to walk for leisure as opposed to non-pet owners. This kind of daily physical activity can have an positive impact on both overweight pets and their overweight owners.

In the final analysis, what’s the solution in order to help an overweight pet improve it’s quality of life? Well, it’s pretty much the same approach that applies to humans: eat a little less, and move a little more!

In conclusion, when choosing a pet that will improve your quality of physical activity and fitness for you and your children, a dog might be the way to go. Of course, simply having a dog does not mean your fitness level and body composition are going to improve. You need to walk your dog on a regular basis for this to have a positive influence on its health and well-being, as well as yours.

Just remember to bring along a poop bag.