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News 163 views last update:6 Aug 2012

Obesity in pets also issue in Australia

About 40% of Australia's dogs and as many as one-third of cats are estimated to be overweight. Laverton Veterinary Clinic is one of the clinics, run by a pet-food manufacturer to target the obesity problem.

Veterinarian Rosemary Cox said obesity causes similar problems in pets as it does in humans. It places a strain on the heart and joints, which can lead to crippling arthritis when the dog is older. Ms Cox said there were many myths about food and healthy weights for dogs and cats that had lead some owners to become slack with their pet's nutrition.

Differences in breeds
"It can be hard defining the difference between plump and overweight sometimes; different dogs carry weight in a different way, so it can be hard to work out exactly what is a good weight", Ms Cox said. Labradors and beagles are notorious for being overweight and stacked on the kilos more easily than other breeds.
She said that despite their small size and relatively fast metabolic rates, miniature or toy housedogs also tended to be over-represented in the obese category because they were often owned by elderly people and were kept inside without being walked.

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