An Ottawa woman charged for neglecting her morbidly obese cat has shone the spotlight on overweight pets.  The Ottawa Humane Society says a 12-year-old cat named Napoleon weighed 25 pounds and could not stand or clean itself. Staff euthanized the animal.  The cat’s owner, Guylene Roy, was charged with neglect.  

For many pet owners, their animals have become part of the family.  As their weight increases, so, too does the weight of their furry friend.

Ottawa’s Liz Bradley leads a busy life.  She runs a business as a photographer.  So getting her 3 dogs out for a good run every day isn't easy.  Corduroy, a Maltese Shih Tzu, was packing on the pounds and her other two dogs also needed to get in better shape. So, enter the doggy treadmill:  a pint-sized machine for your pooch.

"With the treadmill, we're allowing them to run even more,” says Bradley, “even if I can’t get out for an hour long walk one day, we can go on the treadmill, take care of their exercise needs, they're happy, they can curl up in a ball and sleep for a couple hours and I can get some work done.”

No surprise that obesity among pets is as big an issue as it is among us humans.

At the Greenbank Animal Hospital in Ottawa’s southwest end, veterinarian Dr. Rob Kartes sees dozens of animals with diabetes because of weight issues; more cats than dogs.  Arthritis is on the rise too.

"We could look at human population,” says Dr. Kartes, “and say why are we becoming obese too?  Foods are tastier, there’s lots of heavy marketing out there.”

At Ottawa’s Bruce Pit, dogs can run off-leash.  It’s an unlikely place to find an overweight dog but dog owners say it is a constant battle to keep off the bulge.

“I’m here two hours a day and he runs all the time,” says Ellen Moss of her dog Beaver, “two hours a day and a small walk at night and he's good.  He's lean and he's happy.”

Dr. Kartes says many owners are over feeding their pets.  He says start by cutting back on what they eat and switch to less calorie dense food.

“But it's not as simple as it seems,” says Dr. Kartes, “just as it is with people.”

As for Bradley's bunch, she's had the treadmill a few months. The dogs love it and they're already in better shape. Bradley purchased the treadmill through an Ottawa company called DogTrot Fitness for about $500.