It's often fun to marvel at the ways humans and animals are just alike -- but sometimes, the similarities between us and our pets aren't positive. A recent poll conducted in the UK found that humans aren't the only ones suffering from a chronic obesity crisis; pets are at risk too. According to the Daily Mirror, a report by the People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA) found that over 10 million animals receive high-calorie foods -- treats, leftovers and even alcohol -- from their owners, often in excess:
Around nine out of 10 (87%) give pets treats, even though 91% know the resulting obesity can reduce their pet's lifespan.
It means that of the UK's estimated 18 million pets some 2.5 million dogs (one in three) and over 2 million cats (one in four) are currently overweight, the PDSA claimed.
A similar study of pets in the U.S. found that approximately 80 million cats and dogs were overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Regardless of nationality, vets say the risk of overfeeding and poor nutrition can be deadly for pets.
"[Obesity is] effectively a silent killer leading to long term health issues for pets that can cut their lifespan by up to two years," said Elaine Pendlebury, a senior veterinary surgeon with PDSA. "Pet obesity significantly increases the danger of developing major health problems such as diabetes, arthritis and heart disease and can also bring about the onset of these chronic diseases much earlier... It's tragic to think that millions of pets are suffering under the strain of carrying too much weight, when it is an entirely preventable condition."