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Pet Care – Tips on How to Keep Your Pets From Being Overweight
According to APOP, the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. That’s nearly 93 million US dogs and cats that need to be adopted! In short, this makes me sad. We live in a world where diet and exercise take a back seat. Obesity in adults, children and pets is increasing rapidly. I’m not going to lecture on being right and exercising, but it’s important. It seems that the tradition has happened like this. First, our health slowly took a back seat, then our children picked up our bad habits and now the pets in the house are overweight.
I know it’s hard to find time to run with our dogs, but it’s our responsibility. Most breeds need some exercise and encouragement. They need to run, not just walk, and they need challenges to overcome to tire them physically and mentally in order to be healthy. Cats can even be encouraged to exercise more with toys and games. One key ingredient these animals are missing is you. You can always hire a dog runner, not just a walk, but someone who can do short bursts of running with your pet to really drain your energy. Also, you need to be someone who knows about breeds and pet first aid to make sure your dog is in good hands. The benefits of exercise are endless and exercise is the same for dogs and cats as for humans. Most important is the fact that it helps to avoid extra weight. Excess fat puts your loved ones at greater risk for cancer, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, joint and bone disorders, and early death. Exercise tones muscles, builds strong bones, improves circulation, and elevates spirits by increasing ‘feel good’ chemical levels in the body. Dogs aren’t good at being in the yard all day because they don’t run as fast as you might think. It waits for you to get home for inspiration. Fit dogs, just like fit people, feel better, and sleep better. This keeps people and pets happy with less medical expenses.
The next step is the food they eat. All animals are different just like people. For example, some dogs are able to eat scrambled eggs and others cannot because their stomachs are too sensitive. Think about this when choosing your dog and cat food. Is your pet getting enough nutrients? Is your pet food high in fat? Does your pet need a supplement? All these questions can be answered by a veterinarian. I also suggest cutting out human foods for a while and looking into organic and/or low fat foods. Get treats that are very soft and squishy so you can break them into small pieces. Trust me, your pet doesn’t care how big the treat is, it just gets one. In this way, the pet will not feel deprived and those who still can take it to give it to him because he deserves it on cuteness alone. I understand how it is. Sometimes when I’m cooking, all it takes is a cute little head turn and before I even think about it I’m feeding my dogs part of my dinner. But it is a bad habit. Even if it is their favorite food. Everything is there favorite! I know a woman who gives her cat chocolate milk every day even though she makes cats sick. He said he couldn’t help it because he was Fluffy’s favorite. Please don’t be that person. The next time you feel like feeding Fido off the table, grab a soft toy or cotton ball and tell them to play with it. You should feel good thinking about the fact that they will live long and happy lives, make you more social by eating a healthy weight.
It seems that things always happen to make us go outside to run our dogs. That should not stop you from other activities that may disturb your pet. Cats are easy, cut back on their food and extra treats and then move the puzzle around until they get bored. There are even tricks you can teach your cat, just Google to learn how.
The dog is more involved. They still need their exercise as much as you do, so switch to the treadmill when the weather is bad outside. Make intervals with your pet. For example, start with a warm-up and go to two minutes of hard or vigorous running with one minute of rest. Hop off and put the pooch on for a bit while you do twenty crunches, twenty jumping jacks, push ups, squats, etc. Then hop back on the treadmill for two or three more intervals. You remove it and repeat the landscaping process while Fido is hunting. Repeat as many times as you like and this should give you the idea to think outside the box. If you want to watch a television show then put the treadmill next to the couch and watch it while Fido works. Make sure you are always supervised. Some dogs are quick to you and others need encouragement and guidance. There are also fun dog games that you can play in the house to draw energy like ‘our’ play. You can also work on obedience at home. Learning new things or renewing skills at home where the control environment is perfect. This way your pet will have fewer distractions and won’t be able to run while practicing off manual techniques. Always look for ways to keep your pet entertained in your environment. There are always hikes, races with dogs, agility classes and more to come.
After reading this article I can trust that you will be motivated and will spend more time exercising your pet. Take care of you, your family and your puppies.
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