Roly poly isn’t cute, unless you’re a whale stocking up for summer

Really, only marine mammals, like whales and walruses own the bragging rights to blubber-bulked physiques.

Otherwise, like humans, overweight animals are prone to health risks.

Some interesting reads about the situation elsewhere:

Porky pets warning for British

“Feeding your pet full English breakfasts, chocolate, chips, burgers and too much pet food may make you feel like a kind and loving owner,” said David Grant, a veterinarian working for the Royal Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (RSPCA).

“But it could give your pet fatty tumours, diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure, liver failure, skin problems — and, even worse, an early death.”

Of 143 veterinarians questioned by the RSPCA for the report 80 percent reported a steep rise in the number of cases of overweight and obesity they had seen.

One man used to feed his dog a breakfast of egg, sausage and bacon until it became so fat it could not move and had to be put down.

He was banned for life from keeping animals, the RSPCA said.

“People who let their pets starve are labelled cruel and callous, but what people don’t realise is that overfeeding your pet can cause just as much suffering as starving it, ” Grant said.

“A fat dog may look cute and cuddly but in reality you are killing it with kindness. ”

An animal only needs to be slightly over its ideal body weight for health problems to begin.

Loving your pets to death

“It’s a big problem, and quite reflective of what’s happening in the human situation,” said Mark Lawrie, the RSPCA’s chief vet.

Australia is a nation of 20 million people, almost 4 million dogs, 2.5 million cats, 8.7 million pet birds and more than 12 million pet fish.

It has one of the world’s highest rates of pet ownership at 64 percent of households, compared to 62 percent in the United States and 44 percent in Britain.

The RSPCA said de-sexing and lower levels of exercise had an impact on pet obesity, but the key issue was over-eating.

“It’s really the calorie intake and food that makes the big difference,” Lawrie said, adding that many pet owners could not resist giving their animals food when they asked for it.

And here’s an example of what might bother your roly-poly one: anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tears

Sounds painful, doesn’t it? Cats and dogs are prone to it.

Written by Kevin Helliker, the article reports that the high rate of ACL tears is mystifying to veterinarians. Could it be the prevalence of obesity in dogs? A fat dog jumping on and off the sofa is putting a lot of pressure on his joints. And active dogs, unless they’re well conditioned, are just as much at risk, especially if they’re jumping and twisting to catch a flying disc. Cats are prone to ACL tears as well, especially if they’re overweight.

-> more on dogma and cattitude‘s Weak in the Knees

So don’t think you’re being a good companion animal guardian if you succumb to every begging whine or meow for food. It’s not your guilty conscience that needs defending, it’s your cat/dog’s health.

Of course this doesn’t mean you should crash diet the moggie!

Apply some logic and reason, and you’ll see that in general, things that may harm you will harm them too.

This applies to the homeless animals you care for too. So don’t underestimate the impact of hauling extra weight around – it’s even more crucial for them that their mobility isn’t compromised by your “love”, “compassion” or your “guilt”, because it isn’t worth one iota if they die from it, directly or indirectly.

Having said all that, do keep this in mind: In some cases, being moderate fatties may be better than the alternative

(Created: 24 May 06)


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