Earlier, lifestyle diseases were considered a threat to only human beings. Now, pets in rich Indian households, too, are suffering from diabetes, and stones, etc. However, owners of these pets are not ready to control their diet as they are a status symbol for them.
LIFESTYLE DISEASES have become a way of life among Indian pet dogs. New research has found that cases of diabetes, stones, kidney and liver failure and gastric ulcers are soaring in Indian canines. It is not only decreasing life span of pets, it is also adding to health issues of the owner.
Researchers from Guru Angad Dev Veterinary and Animal Sciences University believe that dogs are being fed with junk food by their owners without thinking of any risk. They feel that it is due to changing dietary habits that owners are feeding reasonable amount of junk food rather than normal regular foodstuff.
“On most occasions, I run out of food for my dogs and usually think of cooking for them. However, I end up with giving them food items such as pasta, pizza, cheese, and egg, etc., although it is dangerous,” said Rankita Himami Gaur, a homemaker from Kerala.
The study conducted on a hundred dogs found that on an average dogs suffered from mammary tumours including heart attacks, skin problems, apart from kidney and liver problems. Diabetes, these days, is being detected in one in fifty dogs screened. According to data, it used to be around one in 200 between 1965 and 2005.
“Now, our Indian pets live and sleep in air-conditioned rooms along with their owners. Diet determines health and life expectancy for pet dogs. Pet owners must take extra care before selecting their diets as even one piece of chocolate or a pizza has a side effect on them. Nowadays veterinary doctors are formulating diet programmes for pets with the help of computer programmes to ensure a balanced and complete diet. Companies prepare diets from unprocessed foods marketed for human consumption and readily available in the food market. Pet owners can control the quality and wholesomeness of a diet’s ingredient,” advised Dr. Mukul Jain, a Veterinary professional.
Another problem that modern pets face is they rarely 'work' anymore - so there is a lack of opportunities to exercise, and they no longer have to earn their keep; instead pets have to adjust in sedentary lifestyles of owners. They get their food for free and are often confined, alone and inactive most of the day. This lack of purpose leaves dogs no outlet for their naturally active tendencies - physical and mental. It contributes to the development of behaviour problems and diseases.
“Dogs in regions like Punjab
are more obese. When we tell an owner to reduce the dog’s diet, the answer often is that their pet belongs to well-fed family, there is no question of reducing diet. It’s our status symbol too,” added Dr. Jain. He further added that the combination of fatty foods and inactivity can prove fatal and be equally risky for the owner's health as their diseases are not easily treated.