Wow! That dog pictured at the top is HUGE!
This article doesn't surprise me though. After working for two vets, equine and small animal, I've noticed a trend. Some people just think it's cute when their animals are overweight or even obese. It's sad, and in a way, cruel.
Even my own mother has two gypsy vanners that are overweight. I keep urging her to put grazing muzzles on them but she thinks they are supposed to be fat because they are drafty. Yes, they should be stockier than our other horses, but there is a difference between stocky and overweight. They should be big boned but instead, I can't find their bones!
It's also quite common for people with multiple animals to feed their animals together and have the dominant animal eating more and becoming overweight while the other stays thin.
Many Americans have similar problems with their pets as they do with themselves. Portion control and limitation of treats is important. I'll admit I find myself slipping my cat too many table scraps and treating myself to food items I don't need, just because it's available.
Some of it can be attributed to the contents of cheap food as well. Cheap food (human and animal food) tastes good, but it is also highly processed, fatty, chemically preserved and genetically modified. Fresh produce and quality pet food can be expensive and it doesn't have that greasy, salty, or sweet taste that pets and people alike love. Our market, our taste, and our own society are all setting us up for obesity.