The phrase ‘a dog is a man’s best friend’ isn’t far from the truth for many households, with Australia boasting one of the highest rates of pet ownership in the world.

But have the lines blurred between man and dog?

According to Health For Animals, the Global Animal Medicines Association, the humanisation of pets is leading to staggering statistics of obesity, which could lead to life threatening diseases, such as diabetes.

This can be caused when owners overfeed their canine friends with inappropriate portions and human food.

Dogs are built differently to humans, which is why their diet requirements call for smaller portions and proper dog food.

Another cause of diabetes in dogs is when they don’t receive sufficient exercise.

A study by Australian vets found that about 33 per cent of dogs were overweight, while about 7 per cent were obese.

Carel du Marchie Sarvaas, executive director of Health For Animals said there is a noticeable correlation between the rise in human obesity and pet obesity.

“It is wonderful that animals are playing such a central role in our family lives but it is essential that we do not over indulge our pets. Pet ownership has shown to have positive health benefits for people as more of us become owners, we must in turn make sure we keep our animals healthy,” she said.

Ms Sarvaas encourages pet owners to be proactive by becoming aware of signs and getting check ups.

“We would encourage owners to have regular check ups with their vets to ensure that their pet’s health is monitored and that any signs of like-threatening conditions are spotted as early as possible,” she said.

Another way dog owners can monitor their dog to see if they are getting enough exercise are tracking devices that give you feedback on your pet’s activity (like a fit bit)!

Regular exercise is essential for a dog’s physical and mental wellbeing, but it is also a good excuse for owners to lead a healthier lifestyle.

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Liz Walden

Liz has a passion for all things cat and dog, and was one of the first in Australia to bring Pet Insurance to the market. She has headed up Petsecure marketing for the past 10 years, and is committed to promoting and supporting the amazing work done by rescue groups around Australia, and those who work to promote a better life for all animals

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