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More and More U.S. Pets Are Obese

It's not just Americans who need to take a good look at their expanding waistlines and motivate themselves to shed a few pounds. Also getting heavier are our pets, and it's causing them health problems.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention and reported by CBS News, roughly 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats in the U.S. are overweight or obese. Making matters worse, 90 percent of owners didn't realize that their pets were obese in the first place. Being overweight can lead to a host of health problems in pets, like arthritis in canines and bladder and urinary tract disease in cats.

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Los Angeles veterinarian Dr. Jeff Werber said that pet owners are uniformed about the proper health and nutrition for their dogs and cats, which can lead to health issues in the future.

"Dogs don't get into the cookie jar by themselves," Werber told CBS News. "Pet parents don't understand the importance of the changing caloric intake of pets and when to switch from puppy to adult formula."

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But there are easy ways to keep your pet's diet in check. Avoid feeding Fido table scraps, monitor the amount of food your feline gets, limit treats and get your pet exercising. For dogs, that could mean throwing a ball or Frisbee in the park a few times. For cats, a toy mouse or laser pointer could do the trick.

"Not only are you going to add years to your pet's life, but it's good for the emotional health and physical health of both parents and pets," Werber said.

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Image via CBS News

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