“The chubby, inert pet dog has become a familiar household sight in richer countries. And yet there lies a possible boon to the out-of-shape among us. A recent study suggests that being told one’s pet is dangerously overweight might provide the impetus that gets an owner moving.”
This excerpt is from an interesting article I read in the New York Times. There were three things particularly interesting about the article. First is that family dogs and cats can become overweight without owners even noticing it. The bond is so strong between owners and pets that physical issues are just not noticed. Second, once owners were told by vets that their pets were overweight, they were very likely to do something about it. Finally, just like pets, humans have the tendency to put on a few extra pounds, too!
Extra weight can make life difficult for pets as it exacerbates knee, hip and joint issues. They can also develop issues with breathing and stamina while running. The reasons for maintaining a healthy weight are generally well known.
How do you know if your pet is overweight? The Ohio State University has put together a great chart which will help you figure it out:
Body Condition Scoring Chart
If you come to the conclusion that you have an overweight pet it leads to the question: What do we do next? Well, there is the old adage, “eat less, move more.” The translation – consume less calories and exercise more. Simple and practical. Here are some tips to make that happen on a daily basis.
- Eat a well-balanced, low-fat foods like Sierra Jack Holistic Low Fat Formula for dogs, and Feline Lean for cats.
- Feed only the amount of food recommended for your breed and activity level.
- Don’t Feed Table Scraps
- Prepare smaller meals. Often times leftovers are given to pets as an easy way to “clean up.”
- Feed your pets healthy treats. Treats like Beggin’ Strips are essentially sugary candy bars – Imagine if you had 5 Snickers bars everyday, it would start to show on your waistline for sure!
- Set a walking or exercise schedule. Write it down to succeed!
- Consider a doggy day care for all or part of the week. You dog will socialize and get plenty of exercise.
What other tips do you have?