No, your pet does not have a hang-up about his burgeoning mirror image. She does not hide at home in embarrassment when she could saunter saucily down the street in all her Rubenesque glory. Nor will he shrink under your critical gaze as you consider his striking resemblance to that ottoman you saw at Pottery Barn.

No, pets are not like us. They do not suffer the slings and arrows launched by the enemy of all humans: comparison.

The problem, however, is that you’re largely in charge of her food supply and activity level. And you do experience the stress of the inevitable analogy...

Which is why I abhor media depictions of fat pets in the if this were the accepted norm we should all aspire to. As if it’s OK to have a Lab that looks more like a refrigerator than a dog. As if it’s funny that your cat weighs more than your six month-old infant.

I can certainly understand how humor can be helpful when it comes to weight loss in pets. I use it often, as it helps disarm clients who just know they’re about to hear their vet rail against their irresponsibility. But I always turn it around at the end, twisting the humor into constructive points...just so everyone gets it...just so no one gets off the hook with a chuckle when there’s a health imperative to ponder.

The problem with pics like these (I wish I could have found the more egregious ones in the veterinary magazine I was reading yesterday) is that they use the humor and leave it on the table for you to enjoy at will. I find it gives the impression that, “Hey, it’s funny because it’s true.” But doesn’t take the problem to it’s logical conclusion: Weight hurts and fat kills.

Sure, that wouldn’t make much of an ad campaign for Pedigree, but it’s what I’d like to see on every bag or can of food in the land.