The medical worrywarts of the world have determined that not only are American adults obese, not only are American kids obese, but now, officially, pets have joined the wheezing, stolid ranks of the obese WALL-E-like Americans wandering aimlessly through Costcos from sea to shining sea. Why officially? For starters, the first-ever obesity clinic for pets has been opened by the Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine at Tufts University.
According to Business News, prevailing data puts the amount of obese Americans somewhere around 35 percent, which may seem high until one considers that as many as 60 percent of American dogs and cats (birds don't get fat and fish aren't up for cuddling so they don't get to participate) are overweight. If you paused over that statistic to regard your wheezing sheltie/shepherd mix stretched out over the floor vent because she's trying to nap off all the peanut butter whose jar she inexplicably/horrifyingly managed to open, then this information concerns you, personally.
The Cummings School explains that combating pet obesity can be a little tricky because 1) dogs (and some deranged cats) are all pretty much the Meryl Streeps of begging for food, 2) and exercising a pet is often a really hard chore for busy pet owners to incorporate into their daily routines. The new clinic will aim to see about 600 patients annually by 2015, and will focus on educating veterinary professionals about pet obesity, providing viable exercise/diet regimens for overweight pets, and researching the best methods for preventing/treating pet obesity.