The human obesity epidemic is a global public health crisis. With scientifically-proven links to such deadly conditions as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer, the human toll of the obesity epidemic has been estimated by the World Health Organization to exceed 2.8 million lives per year. As the world’s fifth-leading cause of death, it is hard to overstate the severity of obesity’s impact on the world in which we live.
The impact of obesity on the population of dogs kept as household pets receives far less attention than its human analogue. Nevertheless, the canine obesity epidemic is every bit as deadly and far-reaching. Research recently published in the Journal of the American Veterinary Medical Association demonstrates that even moderately overweight dogs tend to die several years earlier than their fit peers. Moreover, as a leading cause of crippling musculoskeletal disorders, obesity has been shown to drastically diminish canine quality of life. However, despite these frightening findings, recent polling suggests that as many as half of the dogs in America are overweight or obese.
The great majority of dog owners love our canine companions and treat them like full-fledged family members. And yet we are allowing as many as half of these animals to have their lives unnecessarily shortened and otherwise diminished by obesity. All this despite the fact that canine obesity can be prevented and managed using simple and inexpensive weight-loss strategies.
What gives? How is this possible?
These questions defy easy, straightforward answers. As with any large-scale social phenomenon, complex, interrelated causal factors are at play and there exists no “magic bullet” that will stop the spread of the canine obesity epidemic overnight.
Nevertheless, Varsity Pets is committed to leading the crusade against obesity in America’s population of 78 million pet dogs. We believe that by raising awareness about the dangers of canine obesity, teaching dog owners evidence-based weight-management strategies, encouraging healthy, active canine lifestyles, and developing useful products and services, we can stem the gathering tide of obesity in the United States.
To learn more about the dangers of canine obesity and how to prevent them from unnecessarily harming your dog, please visit our blog.