Can Diet Tricks Help Your Fat Pet

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Across the globe, waistlines are bulging at a mind-boggling rate. But it’s not just the increasing belt size of humans that presents a cause for concern — collar size matters too as levels of obesity soar for pets. In fact, it seems the epidemic might be even worse for animals — according to recent reports from Live Science, 45 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are overweight or obese.

But unlike us complicated humans, it’s easy to pinpoint the reason behind your pet’s burgeoning girth: you. “Dogs don’t raid the refrigerator at night,” North Carolina vet Ernie Ward told Live Science. “They don’t go to the store and buy junk food.” Therefore, it’s up to you to address the problem.

If you’ve ever been on a diet yourself — and who hasn’t? — it seems you may already have the tools to help your furry friend get back to a healthy weight. It all boils down to those two, familiar key factors: eating well and exercising.

The first step is cutting down on those fatty treats you use to reward your pet. Instead, Dr. Ward suggests replacing them with wholesome, whole grain things like — surprise! — raw carrots and broccoli. It’s also important to read the labels on your favorite dog or cat food too — the first ingredient listed should be some sort of meat, not a carbohydrate. You could even try making your own pet food.

And as for exercise? Pet treadmills are available, but save your money and get moving because what’s good for your pet is good for you too. Spending plenty of time outdoors with your dog won’t just make Fido happier and healthier, it will have a positive impact on your health too. Can’t get your dog to walk much? Experts suggest coaxing him or her with carrots. However, it’s trickier to get an indoor cat moving, so counting calories for your feline might be your best bet.

Pets can be an amazing addition to your family, for both physical and mental health. But make sure you’re not setting yours up for a lifetime of obesity-related complications like diabetes and respiratory illnesses. Become your pet’s nutritionist and personal trainer — after all, anyone can benefit from a healthier lifestyle.

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