(TERRE HAUTE)(WTHI) - It turns out that chubby dog in Volkswagen's Super Bowl commercial isn't alone.
A new report from the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that more than half of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight and that almost one third qualify as obese.
Local veterinarians say they often encounter dogs and cats that weight too much, and they say those extra pounds can cause conditions like diabetes and joint problems and can shave years off of a pet's life.
"You can treat it and try to control the symptoms, but if the dog maintains being 40 or 50 pounds overweight, then a lot of what we do is not going to help," said Dr. Michael Staub, a veterinarian at Honey Creek Animal Hospital in Terre Haute.
To help control a pet's weight, Dr. Staub recommends keeping table scraps away from pets and only feeding animals at specific times of day instead of leaving food available all day.
To judge a dog's weight, Staub recommends feeling for the dog's ribs while petting it. A dog's owner should be able to feel the dog's ribs without pressing hard on the dog's chest, but the ribs should not be visible to the naked eye.
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