Food And Drug Administration (FDA) has come up with a solution to deal with the growing epidemic of canine obesity in the United States.
Pfizer, the drug manufacturer, has made a new weight-reducing drug named Slentrol to control obesity in dogs.
Nowadays as the owners work late hours, the dogs' lounge around all day and the lack of exercise coupled with the fatty food they get to eat, makes them obese.
This is a welcome addition to animal therapies, because dog obesity appears to be increasing, said Dr. Stephen Sundlof, director of the Center for Veterinary Medicine.
Obese dogs are those that are 20 % overweight. Approx. 5 % of dogs in the US are obese, and another 20 to 30 percent are overweight, according to the drug agency.
The drug is expected to target four million American obese dogs that are potential candidates for this therapy, which would cost $1 to $2 a day.
'This is not a passport to abandon exercise or diets,' said George J. Fennell, Pfizer's vice-president in the United States for companion animal health. 'The drug would be a big help for dog owners who find it difficult to cut back on doggy treats.'
'You hear pet owners say: 'The dog really wags his tail when I give him a treat. It's hard to hold back,' ' Mr. Fennell said.
Veterinarians complain that pet owners overindulge in feeding and spoil them with treats, which makes them pretty heavy.
Slentrol is in a liquid form and can be added to a dog's food or given directly in its mouth. The duration of the treatment will be decided depending on the amount of weight that has to be lost. Results of clinical studies show that dogs on Slentrol lost roughly about 3 percent of their weight a month.
Obese dogs often suffer from cardiovascular problems, diabetes, torn ligaments, sores on their elbows, hip and back problems, and arthritis.