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Pet Obesity on the Rise

Photo Courtesy - Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- Have you taken a good look at your pet dog or cat lately?  Is it getting harder to feel your pet's ribs? Is it getting thick around the middle?  Is it's stomach starting to sag?  The problem could be they're overweight.    

New research shows more than 85 million dogs and cats are overweight, that's half of all canines and felines in the country. Why? Mostly from overeating and lack of exercise.  

The Association for Pet Obesity prevention recommends monitoring your pet's calories. Suggestions on food labels may be too much for your animal, so check with your vet for the proper amount. Measure quantities. Don't just fill the bowl. Try two or three small high-protein, low-carbohydrate  meals. Choose sugar-free or low-calorie treats. Make sure they exercise daily. Dogs should get 20-30 minutes of brisk walking or playing. For cats shorter 5-15 minute activities such as chasing  toys or a laser pointer.       

Just as in humans, obesity in pets can lead to serious health issues, such as diabetes, arthritis, high blood pressure and cancer.  Your pet needs your help battling the bulge.  Research shows pets who eat less during their lifetime live significantly longer.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

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