Animal obesity a good reason to "paws for a cause"

By Contributor
August 25th, 2009

Photo: Kristin Diaz, manager of Paws for a Cause, with Buddy, an overweight dog available for adoption at the B.C. SPCA’s Vancouver shelter. Buddy’s former owners allowed him to tip the scales at 134 pounds, but he’s now on a weight-loss plan that includes low-impact exercise like walking.

“Does this ID collar make me look fat?”

If your dog could talk, that’s something he might just ask, given that obesity in pets has become such a growing concern. According to a 2007 Association for Pet Obesity Prevention study, 43 per cent of dogs and 53 per cent of cats are either overweight or obese.

So prevalent is obesity in pets that veterinarians are now prescribing doggie diet drugs to clients with round hounds. Slentrol, from Pfizer Inc., has been available since 2007 in the U.S., and Health Canada approved the slimming pills here in June.

“We’ve got a better idea to get your furry friend fit, and it’s even a walk in the park,” says Kristen Diaz, manager of the Scotiabank and B.C. SPCA Paws for a Cause… Walk for the Animals.

Paws for a Cause is the B.C. SPCA’s signature fundraising campaign, and it’s taking place on Sept. 13 in 39 communities across B.C. Most locations are in community parks and offer walk routes varying from 1.5 to five kilometres.

“Walking is wonderful exercise because it’s low-impact, you don’t need a lot of equipment — just a good pair of shoes — and you and your dog can do it just about anywhere, rain or shine.”

Diaz says Paws for a Cause is a great opportunity for new or novice walkers, because the routes are relatively short and the camaraderie from being with a group of fellow animal lovers provides the inspiration to make it to the finish line.

“It doesn’t even feel like exercise,” says Diaz, who also runs with her dog, Charlie.
Paws for a Cause aims to raise $950,000 for animals in need. The SPCA has set up a comprehensive website at www.spca.bc.ca/walk where you can register and get started with fundraising ideas, pledge kits, posters, merchandise and ways to volunteer.
In 2008, the BC SPCA rescued 37,000 injured, homeless, neglected and abused farm, companion and wild animals, and reunited close to 5,500 lost animals with their anxious families.


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