When Pets Resemble Owners…

July 3, 2013

Pudgy PupsDo you have a cat who looks like he loves lasagna? Or a frisky Fido who loves fetch in the park? Maybe a chunky Charlie who’s dragging his belly when he waddles from his morning nap spot to his afternoon nap spot?

I can’t say I’m not familiar with obese pets. Our last family dog had serious waddle…he threw his back out, and went from pudgy to porky very quickly. The table scraps didn’t help. For a fat pup, he actually managed to stay relatively healthy and live fairly long, but I suspect he missed the days when he could chase rabbit trails.

According to vets, America’s obesity epidemic doesn’t just apply to people—as many as half the pets that come into their offices have their own weight loss needs. Most of these can be met the same way people lose weight—diet & exercise.

That means no more table scraps, and a decent walk daily.

Dogs:

Ideally, your dog food should contain real meat—that means animals listed on the label, rather than byproducts. Try to avoid filler like corn and opt for healthier ingredients. And if you’re afraid of contamination (which happens with tragic results occasionally), or just want to save a little money, you can absolutely make your own.

How much exercise a dog needs depends on your breed. If he’s been a couch puptato you may need to start slow and build back up (talk to your vet). It’s also a great way for you to sneak in some exercise, sunlight, and fresh air.

Cats:

Wet food is better for cats—it’s what their digestive system is built to eat. For some breeds, enough available food can mean they won’t kill your songbirds or leave you “presents”, for others, they will eat everything provided, and still hunt.

Because of feline diseases, you may have decided to keep your cat indoors, and that’s generally okay. If you do find your feline friend is a little heavier when he’s sitting on your face to wake you up in the morning, one thing that some vets recommend is hiking. If you can get your cat on a leash, he might enjoy being able to jump and otherwise explore a more difficult terrain than a walk around the neighborhood offers (just watch out for trees!).

Water:

If your pets go outside, it’s important to make sure that they have fresh water available at all times, especially during this heat wave. It’s also protective to add a little colloidal silver to their water bowl. It helps keep the water more fresh, and provides a little immune system boost against pathogens they may encounter.

What exercise do you enjoy with your four-legged friends?

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