Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

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

Date:
February 21, 2008
Source:
Virginia Tech
Summary:
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. The prevalence of obesity in dogs is between 22 and 40 percent.

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

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Virginia Tech. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Virginia Tech. "Like Owner, Like Dog: One Third Of US Dogs Are Obese, Cats Also Suffer." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 February 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220221008.htm>.
Virginia Tech. (2008, February 21). Like Owner, Like Dog: One Third Of US Dogs Are Obese, Cats Also Suffer. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 29, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220221008.htm
Virginia Tech. "Like Owner, Like Dog: One Third Of US Dogs Are Obese, Cats Also Suffer." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/02/080220221008.htm (accessed July 29, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

Deadly Ebola Virus Threatens West Africa

AP (July 28, 2014) West African nations and international health organizations are working to contain the largest Ebola outbreak in history. It's one of the deadliest diseases known to man, but the CDC says it's unlikely to spread in the U.S. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating

AP (July 28, 2014) Classes are being offered nationwide to encourage African Americans to learn about cooking fresh foods based on traditional African cuisine. The program is trying to combat obesity, heart disease and other ailments often linked to diet. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Asteroid's Timing Was 'Colossal Bad Luck' For The Dinosaurs

Newsy (July 28, 2014) The asteroid that killed the dinosaurs struck at the worst time for them. A new study says that if it hit earlier or later, they might've survived. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge from Nest

AP (July 27, 2014) A live-streaming webcam catches loggerhead sea turtle hatchlings emerging from a nest in the Florida Keys. (July 27) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins