Although this was written for the Washington Post, I pulled it off the FortWayne.com Journal Gazette site.
By John Briley
In our effort to get you out of the pantry and into motion, weve tried lots of stuff: exhortation, intimidation, promises, shame, scientific evidence, consistent smart-aleckry and even commiseration. Now we bring out the big gun: Your slothful behavior may be killing your dog.
Were presuming here you own a dog and that the pup is faithfully (if unhappily) leashed to your indolent routine, from those online Texas Hold em tourneys to your freelance Jeopardy!” career. You know whats coming here, but before the lecture on launching a walking regimen with your dog, here are a few plucks o the heartstrings, drawn from Fitness Unleashed,” a new book by veterinarian Marty Becker and physician Robert Kushner (Three Rivers Press, 2006):
About 40 percent of U.S. dogs are overweight or obese (yet almost half of pudgy-dog owners describe their animals weight as ideal”).
Overweight dogs have a higher risk of diabetes, heart disease, arthritis and cancer.
Bad-dog behavior such as biting, chewing, digging and house-soiling (which prompts an alarming number of euthanasia cases) is significantly lower in quadrupeds that get enough exercise.
In-shape pets live, on average, 15 percent longer than fat ones.
Hmmm, eerily similar to the warning label for overfed, under-exercised Homo sapiens, no? Dogs, like people, are not genetically wired to lie around all day. Many breeds evolved to work retrieving, shepherding, guiding, labradoring, etc. Others are (you know who you are, Teapot) just dang hyper. So asking that they hole up all day, then loaf with you when you get home, is beyond unfair, even if you are watching Dog Whisperer” on National Geographic Channel.
I swear Sol and Annie MUST have put this article under my nose! But how true!