SA a leader in canine obesity
Not only are we too fat, our dogs are too fat, too.
1200 WOAI news reports that a survey conducted by Pfizer Animal Health revealed nearly a quarter of San Antonio dogs are overweight.
Veterinarian Dr. Michael Woolley at Family Pet Hospital of Stone Oak and a member of Veterinarians Against Canine Obesity, says dogs are fat for the same reason that people are fat....they eat too much.
"They're not getting the exercise they need, and they are taking in more calories than they are expending," he said.
Several factors contribute to canine obesity, he said. Local dogs don't get enough exercise, with only 27% of area dog owners reporting that their doges get 'brisk exercise' once a week. He says not only do dogs eat too much, they have 'improper diets,' with 17% of San Antonians feeding their dogs table scraps. That is generally fattening food, because the reason we reject it is it is often the most fattening food on the plate.
We are also overfeeding our dogs. 23% of San Antonio dog owners say they give their dogs treats two or more times per day, and another 13% simply fill their dogs' bowl whenever it is empty.
"We have to diet it off of them, and that's an uncomfortable thing to do," Dr. Woolley said. "They have to eat less than what they would be comfortable with."
He says obesity in dogs is much more life threatening than it is in people. He says if a standard dog is seven pounds overweight, that's the equivalent of thirty extra pounds on a 150 pound person.
He says researchers have tested dogs by giving one group of canines the right to eat whatever they want whenever they want, and the other group eating far less, and in controlled doses.
"The group that ate thirty percent less food lived, on the average, two years longer," he said.
And that is an extra 14 people years for your beloved best friend, ample reason to make sure he or she gets a proper diet.