America Faces Epidemic of Fat PetsS

Finally, we have new data on the number of fat pets in the U.S., and it's not looking good. Over half of all American dogs and cats are at least overweight, and some 20 percent of them are obese.

The Wall Street Journal tells us, "For years, the topic of 'fat pets' was considered taboo in the veterinary community." Taboo! (Apparently because vets didn't want to tell fat pet-owners about their fat pets.) But now, we need to face facts, because this is all our fault.

The main culprit: owners who routinely overfeed pets, don't exercise them enough and are unaware of the severe, and costly, health problems caused by excess weight. Common woes include diabetes, arthritis, kidney failure, high blood pressure and cancer. Research also suggests that pets fed less over their lifetime can live significantly longer.

We ask you, Americans: Is there anything we don't end up making really fat? (The answer, as these gorillas will tell you when they stop eating their own vomit to re-taste the delicious sugar in their nutrient pellets, is "no.") Luckily, there are things you can do to help your pet lose weight:

At the Morris Animal Inn pet resort in Morristown, N.J., 32 dogs participated in "Fido's Fit & Spaw Retreat" clinic this January, complete with swimming and dog yoga. And in April, Camp Bow Wow, a 125-location doggy day and night camp franchise will launch a "Furry Fitness Challenge" contest for owners and pets to lose weight together.

[WSJ; image via Shutterstock]