Obesity Epidemic Affecting Dogs as Well

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Obesity has become a huge problem for American people, but it is also impacting dogs too. The fitness industry is now starting to address the canine obesity issue with equipment and classes specifically designed for dogs.

Obesity is a serious concern for dogs as it affects their longevity and quality of life. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about 53 percent of adult dogs qualify as being obese. Last month Tufts University’s Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine announced the creation of the nation’s first obesity clinic focusing specifically on pets.

Veterinarian Dr. Dennis Arn suggests an easy way to check to see if your dog qualifies as obese, “If you can’t lay your hands on them and feel the ribs pretty easily, they’re obese.” Getting your dog active isn’t just important to keep their weight down in the healthy range. Active dogs are happier dogs and often have less behavioral problems. Geralynn Cada has been training dogs for more than 30 years and believes that “a tired dog is a happy dog.”

Cada currently teaches dog yoga, puppy Pilates and a canine interval training course known as Retrieve and Burn. Cada also uses a dog specific treadmill called the DogPACER to help keep her own dog active.

David Ezra is the CEO of DogPACER , he came up with the idea after watching people run on treadmills. He simply thought “Why not a treadmill for dogs?” The treadmills sell for $500 and come in two different sizes. The treadmills came on the market seven months ago and hundreds have already been sold. Ezra says that about 60 to 70 percent of the treadmills go to dog owners, while the rest are purchased by grooming salons, vets, police and government agencies, and animal rehabilitation centers.

While puppy Pilates and yoga may seem cute, getting your dog fit and active is important. Dr. Deborah E. Linder who oversees the obesity clinic at Tufts University says, “While the common perception leans toward overweight pets being happy, research has proven otherwise.”

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