The FDA Friday approved Pfizer's Slentrol (dirlotapide), an oral solution that, when added to food or given directly to the animal, reduces appetite.
A prescription medication, Slentrol will be available only through veterinarians starting this spring, said Pfizer Animal Health, which added it is working in the meantime to increase awareness of the importance and consequences of obesity in dogs.
According to Pfizer, Slentrol is the first and only veterinary-approved obesity drug for dogs in the United States.
"Why are 40 percent of dogs in the U.S. overweight or obese? The answer is simple: Too much food and too little exercise," said Claudia Kirk, associate professor of medicine and nutrition at the College of Veterinary Medicine at the University of Tennessee. "In today's hectic world, it's a challenge for many dog owners to find time to ensure their pets get adequate exercise."
Research shows that being overweight affects the overall health and well-being of dogs by predisposing them to or exacerbating other potentially serious diseases. Being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risk of serious diseases in dogs such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory conditions and cancer.
Notable deaths of 2014 [PHOTOS]
Paralyzed man walks after cell transplant