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Is Your Pet Fit or Fat?

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small dog on scaleDid you know about 44% of dogs and 57% of cats are overweight?  Being overweight leads to a higher risk of arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, cancer and behaviorial problems in dogs and cats.

Not sure if your pet is fit or fat?  A fit dog or cat’s ribs can be felt and there is a slight waist when viewed from above.  In overweight pets, the ribs are difficult to feel and there is no waist when viewed from above.  When pets are obese, their ribs are very difficult to feel and when viewed from above, there is no waist and a broad back.

For those pets battling weight issues, it is possible to still give them treats.  Following are some healthy pet treat options:

  • Cooked or raw carrots or green beans.  Dogs love the taste!
  • Reduce the size and/or number of treats given
  • Reserve a portion of daily food allowance to use as treats
  • Stuff hollow toys with morsels of food.  Pets will work off energy trying to get the food out of the toy

Another way to help with your pet’s weight management is to get them moving.  A game of Find the Treat works for cats and dogs.  Hide treats at various locations and your pet will search until they’ve found all of them.  This works especially well for cats using small bowls of food.  Their natural predatory instinct will kick in and they will hunt the food throughout the day.

Many pets will chase remote-controlled toys.  Look for ones that are pet-friendly and do not contain small parts that could be swallowed.  A variation on this for cats is a red laser light.  Many cats love chasing the light and this game provides a good amount of exercise for them.

With warmer weather on the way, swimming is a good exercise, especially for dogs with joint injuries or arthritis.  Playing fetch is also a great exercise option for dogs.

All of these exercise options are a great opportunity to bond with your pet.  Have fun and get moving with your pet today!

Information for this posting from Healthy Pet Magazine, Fall 2009 & Spring 2010


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