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pets emulate owners


America is the fattest nation on earth —- and it’s not even close.  Almost 3/4 of our population is overweight, while nearly half of those are obese (according to the CDC, over 30% of adult Missourians are obese).  As you may have imagined from the title and pictures above, this obesity has carried over to our pets. Dr. Ernie Ward, a Veterinarian from Calabash North Carolina, recently published the results of a survey for his organization, APOP.   Here are some cherry-picked quotes from the brand new study posted on his website.

The sixth annual National Pet Obesity Awareness Day Survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) found 52.5 percent of dogs and 58.3 percent of cats to be overweight or obese by their veterinarian. That equals approximately 80 million U.S. dogs and cats at increased risk for weight-related disorders such as diabetes, osteoarthritis, hypertension and many cancers….   Pet obesity remains the leading health threat to our nation’s pets…..   The causes of pet and childhood obesity are largely the same: too many high-calorie foods and snacks combined with too little physical activity. Parents need to encourage children to put down their video games and pick up the dog leash to go for a walk. Instead of snacking on sugary treats, share crunchy vegetables with your dog. Eat more whole foods instead of highly processed fast food……   The soaring rate of feline and canine obesity is taking a terrible toll on our animals’ health. There is a vast population of overweight cats and dogs facing an epidemic of diabetes. The best preventive measure a pet owner can make is to keep their dog or cat at a healthy weight. Diabetes is far easier to prevent than treat, especially when twice daily insulin injections are needed……    This is a war veterinarians, pet owners and parents must win. Obesity is the number one preventable medical condition seen in veterinary hospitals today and is the fastest growing health threat of our nation’s children. Our goal is to help pets and people live longer, healthier, and pain-free lives by maintaining a healthy weight, proper nutrition, and physical activity. The most important decision a pet owner makes each day is what they choose to feed their pet. Choose wisely. Your pet’s life depends on it.

What do you think?   If you changed just a little bit of the language, Dr. Ward and his colleagues could be speaking of the owners instead of their pets.  According to an article on the National Institute of Health’s / National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute’s website (What Are the Health Risks of Overweight and Obesity?), the health risks of obesity / overweight are as follows…..

  • Coronary Artery Disease
  • Coronary Heart Disease
  • Heart Attack / Heart Failure
  • Stroke
  • High Triglycerides
  • Degenerative Arthritis (DJD)
  • Gallbladder Disease

It seems that these risks are similar whether you are a dog, a cat, or a human.  The truth is, if you care to dig into the peer-reviewed scientific literature, virtually every conceivable health issue you can name is being tied to Obesity’s twin sister — UNCONTROLLED BLOOD SUGAR.  Knowing all of this, we could easily have changed the last sentence in the red quote above to read, “The most important decision a person / parent makes each day is what they choose to feed their children / family / selves. Choose wisely. Your life and the life of your family depends on it.

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