Dr. Ernie Ward: "America's Pet Advocate"
Top Five Facts About Pet Obesity:
1. Pet Obesity is the number one health threat to pets.
2. Can cause bone-deteriorating disease in dogs and diabetes II in cats.
3. Millions of dollars are wasted in unnecessary medical bills and procedures because of obesity.
4. 53-54% of pets in America are classified as over weight/obese.
5. Health Breakdown of Common Pets: Dog: 60-70% is Diet, 40-30% is Exercise / Cat: 90% Diet is diet, 10% is Exercise
Tips for a Healthy Doggie Diet:
1. Measure your dog's food - the guide on the back of the most common brands of dog food is made for dogs in their most demanding life stages (for example a dog during pregnancy needs more calories). That means you could over feed your dog by as much as 30%.
- Consult your vet - take into account age, size, breed, life stage, activity level.
- 4 days of week use convenience bagged/can food. For the other 3 days cook yourself a balanced meal of whole foods, raw and unprocessed and share that with your pup.
2. Treats - There is more fat, sugar, and calories in treats than ever.
- Treats are so dense in calories it's like you eating 2 donuts - 3 times a day and you are feeding your baby half a dozen donuts a day!
- Give Veggie and Fruit treats! - Carrots, celery, blueberries!
3. Table Scraps - It's a losing battle to not share your food with your pet, especially during the holiday, but there are sensible choices.
- For you: Pumpkin pie; For Fido: cooked pumpkin chunks
- Avoid fried/breaded foods, and don't share the pizza!
- Dog can have lean meats portioned into 1" cubes as a treat. For cats give Salmon or Tuna
1. It's harder for humans and pets to get outdoors during the winter in areas that are colder and as daylight hours are shorter.
2. Animals get Cabin Fever, too! - Most behavioral problems can be solved with exercise!
3. Indoor activities for smaller dogs that canst handle the cold:
- Play chase - just like a toddler, pups love to be chased and then chase you! It's a great way to burn some energy.
- Find the Food Game - take several small dishes and portion out your dog's food. Hide the dishes around the house and send Fido on a Scavenge Hunt!
- High/Low Game (Doggie Squats) - Prompt your dog to rise on his hind quarters and then squat low to the floor using his food as an incentive. Guess what? Your pup is doing squats!
- Remote and mechanical moving toys provide hours of exercise and fun!
4. Outdoor activities for larger (and smaller) dogs:
- WALK! - It is the BEST thing you can do!
- Insulated Booties and Vests - protect your pup's body from the cold and his feet from hard chemicals and salts on the streets
- Acclimatize your animal to the cold. They have sensitive nervous systems just like we do!
Part of the larger Fur Keeps program that encourages lifelong partnerships with animals from horses to gerbils, cats and dogs by advocating and teaching good health for better relationships, and ensuring responsible pet ownership.
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