Date: January 15th, 2014
A recent survey indicates over 50 percent of America’s pet population is overweight or obese. It’s an epidemic now!
To get your pet healthy, or keep your pet healthy and at an optimal weight, food/nutrition & exercise are KEY!
FIRST STEP: DIET & THE RIGHT FOOD!
Very simply put, if your pet is overweight it is taking in (eating) more calories than it needs. Set all excuses aside … excessive weight in an otherwise healthy pet is a direct result of consuming unnecessary amounts of food. Of course, before starting down this course, consult your vet to make sure your pet doesn’t have any metabolic disorders.
When it comes to diet, feed your pet a high quality food, so he gets the nutrients he needs to keep healthy and full! It’s that easy. Don’t feed your pet the equivalent of McDonalds every day (Purina, Beneful, Alpo, Kibbles & Bits, etc) because its cheaper, and easier to purchase (at the grocery store). Spend a little more money and time, and later on down the road, your pet should have fewer medical issues, which means your wallet will suffer less too!
Let’s examine some excuses when it comes to your dog’s feeding habits. Whether your dog is a good weight or overweight, these 4 points are good to note!
DO ANY OF THESE SOUND LIKE YOU?? (cats are more of an issue, and overweight issues with cats need to be discussed with a vet)
(1) “But she hardly eats a thing.” This is probably a case where you feed your dog table food, so she is getting calories from that, and choosing not to eat her own food. Stop the people food- it’s unwanted calories!
(2) “My pup won’t keep quiet unless she gets her treats. And she won’t go to sleep at night until she gets her little dish of ice cream.” Congrats, your pet has trained you! Your pet has discovered that the more noise and fussing it produces the more likely it is to be rewarded for this behavior. The owner finally “gives in” to keep the pet quiet and the pet sees the food as a reward. In effect the owner is creating a “beggar” by rewarding his/her behavior. You need to break this habit immediately, and re-train, reward for being good and quiet.
(3) “She’s such a good dog we don’t want her to go hungry.” This dog became overweight because the owner’s signal of affection for their pet has focused on feeding. It is an understandable trait but unfortunately for the dog it can be a case of too much of a good thing. The owners’ method of showing affection should be directed more toward physical activity than feeding. Think “FETCH” and “TUG” not “FOOD”!
(4) “She just refuses to eat dog food.” In this case the dog has trained the owners to feed him/her such things as chicken, liver, ice cream, cookies, etc. This dog has been given a choice of what to eat and has chosen certain people food. The dog usually overeats because s/he isn’t getting a proper balance of nutrition, plus everything tastes so good there is a reward factor in eating. The solution is … you choose, not your pet. Leave down the dog food, and don’t worry if she doesn’t eat it right away, she won’t starve herself. A dog can go without food for 5 days before you have to worry (as long as she is in relatively good health and not diabetic).
SECOND STEP: THE RIGHT AMOUNT OF EXERCISE
Exercise is beneficial for your pets in so many ways- it helps decrease stress, improve sleeping habits, maintain or loose weight, and you know the old saying- A TIRED DOG IS A GOOD DOG!
The type and amount of exercise needed can differ greatly with breed, age and energy level of your pet. However, it is important to choose the right type of exercise for your pet with the help of a veterinarian if your pet is overweight. With their assistance you should be able to bring your pet back to their optimal weight. Arthritis, diabetes, cardiovascular problems are just some of the issues your pet will deal with if he or she is overweight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, it may even decrease their life expectancy by up to 2.5 years. So if it is so bad as to affect our pet’s health, how are we letting it happen?
Exercise is important for all pets, overweight or not!
Whiskers and Leo does offer dog walking and dog running if you need extra help exercising your dog! As for cats, cats need daily exercise too, but more in the form of play. We do offer cat visits if your feline needs some extra attention and play!