By Victor R. Martinez For USAToday.com
For most of Mufflers’ life, the 10-year-old miniature pinscher has been eating table food.
“He never liked dog food,” said Susan Valdez, Mufflers’ owner. “We would feed him whatever we would eat. If we would go to McDonald’s, we would give him Chicken McNuggets. If we would go to a restaurant, we would bring the scraps to him. He was extremely spoiled.”
All that unhealthful eating caught up to Mufflers. Mufflers â€” whose breed should weigh from 11 to 15 pounds â€” ballooned to 26 pounds. And in June, he was diagnosed with diabetes, a disease that took his eyesight.
“The most devastating thing for me is knowing that I did this to him,” said Valdez, who was unaware dogs could get diabetes. “He did not do this to himself. There is no correcting it. All I can do is make his life a lot easier. I really damaged his inside. His life span that we might have had for maybe 17 years has been cut down because of this.”
Obesity is not just a human epidemic.
In North America, obesity has swept through our pets, as more and more animals develop weight-related diseases that were almost unheard of 20 years ago. Diabetes, osteoarthritis, tears to the anterior cruciate ligaments, heart and respiratory disease and pancreatitis are all increasing among our four-legged friends.