- The Washington Times - Tuesday, March 26, 2013

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

Obesity is a growing problem in America, and not just for humankind. According to a recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 53 percent of adult dogs and 55 percent of cats are overweight or obese. As with humans, improper diet and lack of exercise are largely to blame for this epidemic of excess.

Owners of overweight pets can help their pets achieve a healthier lifestyle by making better food choices and adding in daily exercise in the form of walks, runs or playtime. For dogs and cats in shelters, however, these simple changes can be extremely difficult to implement. Shelter staff do their best to choose healthy foods and provide daily activity, but they lack resources to hire sufficient help. National animal groups give little of the money they raise to shelters — just 1 percent in the case of the Humane Society of the United States.

By dropping off a bag of healthy food, volunteering to walk dogs, play with cats or simply by donating to your local shelter, you can make sure that homeless dogs and cats stay healthy while they wait to find their permanent homes.

DIANA CULP

Director, Humane Society for Shelter Pets

Adamstown, Md.

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