Pet Calendar: National Pet Obesity Awareness Day

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Pet Calendar: National Pet Obesity Awareness Day – October 12, 2016 

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 58 percent of cats and 54 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight. Just as additional weight negatively impacts the health of humans, so too does it impact our beloved pets. An overweight pet, depending on its breed and species could have hip and joint issues, could suffer breathing problems or could become diabetic, among other health ailments.

What can you do to help assure your pet stays happy, healthy and at a proper weight? Here are some suggestions:obese pet

  1. Take your pet for annual check-ups. Your veterinarian will let you know whether your pet is at his or her ideal weight.
  2. If your pet is overweight, ask your vet for suggestions on how to help him get to a healthier weight. Changing the type of food and/or the amount of food you feed your dogs and cats will go a long way in helping them stay healthy.
  3. Get up and get moving. Take your dogs for walks. Not only will they love to be spending time with you, their health and yours, will benefit from time spent out of doors.
  4. If your pet is obese and hasn’t been getting regular exercise, start out slow. Don’t go from couch potato to marathon runner with your pet. An injury could easily happen if you ask too much of your pet too quickly.
  5. If you have cats, give them toys to play with. What cat doesn’t like to chase the light from a laser pointer? (Just be careful to not shine it in their eyes).
  6. Toss toys around the house for your cats and dogs to chase.
  7. Don’t feed table scraps to your pets.
  8. If your pets get treats for doing their business out of doors, offer fruits or vegetables as treats rather than calorie-laden dog biscuits.
  9. Make homemade, healthy treats for your pets.

Remember, your dog or cat will be much happier, and healthier, with loving hugs, belly rubs and behind-the-ear scratches from you than they will by eating a treat! (That even goes for your food-motivated breeds!)

Check out the rest of the October pet-related holidays.

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Larry Kay is the award-winning coauthor of Training the Best Dog Ever, which became a #1 best seller in dog training on Amazon Kindle. He is Leader of the Pack at Positively Woof, which helps shelter dogs get adopted by making videos and raises awareness and funds. Larry is an award-winning dog filmmaker and has been a frequent contributor to the American Animal Hospital Association and Dog Fancy magazine.