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Obesity: Not just a human epidemic

Most people have heard of the problems Americans are facing with their weight - obesity has risen to "epidemic" proportions, with 35.7 percent of adults classified as obese, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

However, pets are suffering from this trend as well, The Boston Globe reports. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recently reported that more than half of all dogs and cats in the U.S. are overweight. The figures seem to be rising - in 2007, only 19 percent of cats and 10 percent of dogs were obese, and in 2010, about 20 percent of each of these domestic animals could be classified as such.

Veterinarians attribute this unhealthy trend to the rise of sugary pet treats, the ignorance of what constitutes a healthy weight and the trend of rewarding pets for mundane tasks. Veterinarian Ernie Ward told the news outlet that in our culture, "a fat pet is a loved pet."

Like in humans, obesity can lead to arthritis, diabetes, kidney problems, cancer and more - all of which contribute to a lower quality of life for the animal.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals reports that owners should be able to easily feel their pet's ribs when they rub their sides, and should see definition of its waist from above. 
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