It’s estimated that between 25 and 40 percent of dogs and cats and 31 percent of people in this country are overweight. The problem is even worse for pet horses; a recent study at the Virginia-Maryland Regional College of Veterinary Medicine and Virginia Tech found roughly half were overweight.
What’s the solution? Add your pets to your own weight-loss resolutions for 2008. Having a companion will help you lose weight and improve your pet’s health. Studies have shown that people who exercise with friends are far more likely to keep up a workout regimen and that people diet more effectively with friends. Exercising with a four-legged friend results in a healthier pet owner, and can even help a human recover from surgery more quickly.
“What many of us assumed was true for decades has now been proven—taking a dog for a walk is healthy for both the dog and the dog’s owner,” says Dr. Roger K. Mahr, past president of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), who has spoken out on the important linkages between animal and human health. “Many pet owners are probably more concerned about exercising their pets than they are about getting some exercise for their own health, but both will live a healthier life as a result. Pets don’t just improve your quality of life; they also improve your health.”
Just like humans, overweight dogs and cats are more likely to get a number of diseases and health problems, including diabetes, heart disease, skin conditions, liver disease, and joint problems. So putting yourself, Fido, Fluffy, and/or Flicka on a diet and exercise regiment will result in a better new year for everyone.