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Pet Care – Tips on How to Keep Your Pets From Being Overweight
According to APOP, the Association for Animal Obesity Prevention, about 54% of dogs and cats in the United States are overweight or obese. There are approximately 93 million American dogs and cats that need to be walked! Simply put, it makes me sad. We live in a world where nutrition and exercise take a back seat. Obesity in adults, children and pets is increasing rapidly. I’m not going to lecture you on proper nutrition and exercise, but it’s definitely important. The trend seems to have happened like this. First, our health slowly took second place, then our children picked up our bad habits, and now the pets at home are becoming overweight.
I know it’s hard to find the time to run with our dogs, but it’s our responsibility. Most breeds need a little exercise and stimulation. They need to run, not just walk, and they need challenges to overcome to tire them out physically and mentally in order to be healthy. Cats can even be encouraged to exercise more with toys and games. One of the main ingredients these animals are missing is you. You can always hire a dog runner, not just a walker, but someone who can take your pet for short runs to burn off his energy. Also, it should 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 virtually the same for dogs and cats as they are for humans. Most importantly, it helps prevent excess weight. Extra fat puts your loved one at greater risk for cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, joint and skeletal disorders, and early death. Regular activity tones muscles, builds strong bones, improves circulation and lifts mood by increasing levels of ‘feel good’ chemicals in the body. Dogs are not okay to stay in the yard all day because he doesn’t walk around like you might think. He waits for you to come home for stimulation. Fit dogs, like fit people, feel better and sleep better. This makes people and pets happier with less medical expenses.
The next step is the food they eat. Every animal is different just like people. For example, some dogs benefit from being fed scrambled eggs and others cannot handle it because their stomachs are too sensitive. Think about this when choosing food for dogs and cats. 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 you stop eating people for a while and look into organic and/or low fat foods. Take cakes that are very soft and smooth, so that you can break them into small pieces. Trust me, your pet doesn’t care how big the treat is, as long as he gets one. In this way, your pet does not feel deprived and you can fulfill your desire to give it to him, because he deserves it for beauty alone. I understand how it is. Sometimes when I’m cooking, all it takes is a cute turn of the head and before I even think about it, I’m feeding my dogs part of their dinner. But it is a bad habit. Even if it’s their favorite food. Everything is there favorite! I once knew a woman who fed her cat chocolate milk every day even though it made the cat sick. She said she couldn’t help it because she was Fluffy’s favorite. Please don’t be that person. The next time you feel like feeding Fido from the table, grab a scare toy or ball of yarn and throw it for them to play with. You should feel better thinking about the fact that they will live longer and happier, it will bring you more company by being a healthy weight.
Things always seem to happen that prevent us from getting out to walk our dogs. This should not stop you from other activities that can stimulate your pet. Cats are easy, downing their food and extra treats, then moving something vaguely until they get bored. There are even tricks you can teach your cat, just google it to learn how.
Dogs are more involved. They still need their exercise just like you, so switch up the routine when the weather is bad outside. Take intervals with your pet. For example, start with a warm-up and up to two minutes of hard jogging or an incline with one minute of rest. Hop on and set the bag down for a bit while doing twenty crunches, twenty jumps, push-ups, squats, etc. Then get back on the treadmill for two or three more intervals. You get on and repeat the floor routine while Fido is running. Repeat as many times as you like and this is just to give you an idea to think outside the box. If you want to watch a TV show, then put the routine next to the sofa and watch it while Fido exercises. Make sure he is always supervised. Some dogs pick it up quickly and others need encouragement and guidance. There are also fun dog games that you can play at home to burn off energy, such as the game of ‘find’. You can also work on obedience at home. Learning something new or improving skills at home where a controlled environment is perfect. This way your pet will have fewer distractions and can’t run off while practicing leash techniques. Always look for ways to exercise your pet in your area. There are always walks, dog marathons, agility classes and more to look for.
After reading this article, I can believe that you will be influenced and spend more time exercising your pet. Take care of you, your family and your dogs.
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