Obesity threatens man’s best friend

Obesity threatens man's best friend
Every fourth dog in Sweden suffers from obesity and weight problems, Dagens Nyheter reports. Dog owners shoulder the blame, experts argue.

Obesity is the biggest health hazard faced by dogs today and shortens the lives of overweight dogs by an average of two years.

Dogs have previously been treated the traditional way – with exercise and a change of diet, but according to the manufacturer of a new diet treatment this has proved ineffective in some 60 percent of cases, Dagens Nyheter reports.

The new diet treatment, developed by Boehringer Ingelheim, works to prevent the uptake of fat into the body from the food a dog eats.

Vets and experts in the field are sceptical and professor Åke Hedhammar at the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences (SLU) underlines that dog owners shoulder the full responsibility for their dogs’ weight problems.

“It is a shame that it is necessary,” Hedhammar said to Dagens Nyheter with regard to the diet treatment.

“It tests the bounds of what is ethically acceptable” said Elisabeth Hernblad, a veterinarian who is chairperson of a group within the Swedish Veterinary Association which has recently developed guidelines for the use of the diet treatment.