Who let the dogs pig out?

Mon Feb 22, 2010 2:16pm EST
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By Dorene Internicola

NEW YORK (Reuters) - Someone once said that if your dog is fat you're not getting enough exercise.

So it's no surprise that as human obesity rates soar, man's best friend is loyally packing on the pounds as well.

"Overweight people are more likely to have overweight dogs," said Victoria Stilwell, dog trainer and author of "Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy, Happy Pet."

Over 34 percent of people in the United States are considered obese, according to the National Center for Health Statistics. Most estimates say up to 40 percent of household pets are overweight.

"An overweight dog shows real negligence by the owner. There's pressure on the bones and the heart and the organs. It's just not pleasant," she said.

"If a dog doesn't get enough exercise behavior problems such as anxiety, chewing, destruction, excessive barking, house soiling, can occur" said Stilwell, who hosts the Animal Planet television show "It's Me or the Dog."

In the show the British-born ex-actress comes to the rescue of pet owners driven to wits' end by dogs behaving badly.

"Really understanding your dog's experience of the world makes training easier," said Sitwell, who tries to see the world from a canine perspective.   Continued...

<p>Victoria Stilwell, celebrity dog trainer and host of Animal Planet&rsquo;s TV series It&rsquo;s Me or the Dog, is seen in an undated handout photo. REUTERS/Bill Adler/Handout</p>