Whether we like it or not, our lives are influenced by the media. Most of the time, our reactions to what we see in popular culture are unconscious. We don’t realize we’re internalizing and then projecting these things into our own lives, but we are.
A new study from researchers at the University of Liverpool School of Veterinary Science suggests that things like Instagram, television shows and other dog related media are influencing how we treat our fuzzbutt best friends.
Pudgy pooches can make for some adogable photos on social media sites. They also make up quarter of canine contestants on television’s most popular dog show, according to the study.
These presentations foster the notion that plump pups are the healthy norm.
Dr. Alex German says:
“The results are concerning because show dogs are assumed to be perfect specimens of their breed and, if significant numbers are overweight, this may ‘normalise’ obesity in the eyes of the public.”
Here’s how the study worked:
A researcher gathered 1,120 photos and data for 28 breeds featured in the most famous dog show on television. All of these pups ranked first to fifth throughout the years of 2001-2013 in the competition.
Researchers then evaluated each dog’s physical condition based on those photos. No data was included in this evaluation. This step is important because, as viewers of the show, we have little data on the dogs. We mainly go by their presentation on screen. This evaluation weeded out 160 dogs believed to be of normal weight, leaving 960 pups for the final step.
The final step was matching each dog with their corresponding data to see how the researchers’ earlier observations compared. The good news is that 780 of the pups were within their normal weight class. However, 252 dogs were substantially overweight. These pups tended to be Labrador Retrievers, Basset Hounds and Pugs.
Pudgy pugs are very pupular on the internet. Even the words “pudgy pugs” are freaking adorable. We’ve all seen photos of tubby Frenchies and rotund Pitties. They are so cute that we want to reach through our computer screens and gobble them up.
As awwwww inducing as these photos may be, our quest for cuteness might be damaging our beloved pets. The researchers question whether or not the judges of these competitions are putting cuteness above the health of the dog. More importantly, they wonder what impact this has on the average dog owner and, consequently, the average dog.
According to Pet Education, obesity in dogs can cause:
– Joint problems
– Bone damage
– Heart disease
– Breathing difficulties
– Heat intolerance
– Liver damage
– Higher risk of death during surgery
– Lower immune function
– Hair and coat issues
We all want our pups to be healthy and scrumptiously cute. We need to remember that our BFFs don’t need to be plump to be adorbs. Consult with your vet on the proper weight for your dog and regularly check your pup’s weight to make sure that they are healthy and happy.
h/t Tech Times.