Last night I had to run in to PetSmart to pick up some filters for my husband’s fish tank. Ahead of me in line was a gentleman with a very portly lab in tow. Ok, maybe I under-sold that. This pup was 25-30 lbs. over-weight. Well into the danger zone. While standing waiting to check out, I overhead the cashier ask what the dog’s name was. “Rufus*”, the guy replied. “Oh, how cute. Would Rufus like a treat?” The guy gladly replies “Oh yes, he loves treats!” All this time I’m thinking… Treats? Get this dog a treadmill and a Biggest Loser audition, stat!
There is no doubt that our beloved pets are getting fatter. Studies have shown that 50% of our nation’s cats and dogs are either overweight or obese. With increasing weights come increasing weight disorders, especially osteoarthritis and type 2 diabetes. The first step to combating this problem is recognition. We hear all too often that Fido only gained 2 lbs. over the last year. Weight gained slowly it just as harmful as weight gained rapidly.
There are many things you can do to help get your pet back to a healthy weight. A couple easy ones that come to mind are…
1. Make sure you are feeding a high-quality diet. Read the ingredients and know what is in your pet’s food. You should always have a good quality protein source at the top of the ingredient list. You should never, ever see “sugar” anywhere on that list. Too much sugar does the same thing in animals as it does in people.
2. Along with feeding a high-quality diet, know how many calories your pet should be eating. Give us a call and we can help you determine how many calories a day your pet should be eating.
3. Limit treats! I know dogs go bonkers when you even say the word “treat” but you can still treat them with a small, healthy treat (or even some veggies) rather than with a king-sized milk bone every time they come in from outside.
4. Exercise! Whether it is a rousing game of fetch, a casual stroll around the neighborhood or a little catnip and a feather chaser, get your pet moving. Before too long the snow will fly and no one will be excited to venture out in the chilly air.
* While the events in this story are real, the names have been changed to protect the extra-large.