More than half of cats and dogs in U.S. overweight

There’s a lot in the news about human obesity, but it seems the trend has transferred to our furry friends.

More than 50 percent of dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight, with 20 percent being obese, according to an article from The Atlantic, which cites estimates from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Some groups have taken pet health into their own hands and started groups such as the Pet Fit Club, which combines a healthy diet and exercise to help overweight pets lose weight in a healthy way. The club,  run by the charity PDSA, challenged 17 cats and dogs to slim down to a healthy weight in six months. The winner of the contest was Jack, an obese Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who couldn’t walk or breathe properly. After going to a new home, Jack’s new owners enrolled him in the club. The pooch shed 31 percent of his weight, dropping from 20.5 kg to 14.1 kg.

The club — and the weight loss — is overseen by vets and technicians to ensure the animal’s safety, according to PDSA’s website.

Companies in the U.S. also are aiming to help pets lose weight, creating and selling products such as treadmills and pedometers for pets, according to Reuters.

Other efforts to combat pet obesity include pilates and specially designed cardio programs, Reuters reports.

Much like humans, obesity can lead to serious adverse health effects on animals such as diabetes, heart disease and arthritis, according to PDSA.

But how do animals get that way? Overfeeding by owners, which 90 percent of people surveyed admit they do, according to PDSA.

Since rapid weight loss can cause health issues as well, it’s best to check with a vet regarding the best course of action.

Want to see the amazing before and after images? Check them out here, as featured on The Atlantic.

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