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New study says American dogs and cats are overweight

Animal lovers who are feeding their dogs and cats food items such as steak, cheese, chicken and ice cream are causing many American pets to be overweight, according to a recent report from The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

The organization's research indicates that more than half of dogs and cats are overweight or obese, with 20 percent falling in to the second category, defined as 30 percent above normal body weight.

Much of the responsibility for healthier pets lies with their human owners.

"Obesity in pets is almost the equivalent of smoking in human medicine. There's the high cost to people, and it's self-induced. I never met a German shepherd who could open the refrigerator or food bag and pour himself another bowl," Steven Budsberg, director of clinical research at the University of Georgia College of Veterinary Medicine told The Wall Street Journal.

Recommendations for pet weight loss are very similar to human weight loss strategies, including the measurement of calories and exercising daily.

Many vets are optimistic about controlling animal obesity, according to the Huffington Post, which recommends that pet parents walk their dogs for 20 to 30 minutes, or have their cats chase a toy for 5 to 15 minutes each day.
 
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