A survey done by veterinarians showed that more than 50 percent of the cats and dogs in the US are overweight. That translates to about eighty million of them being at risk to develop devastating arthritis, incapacitating diabetes, disastrous kidney, and heart disease, as well as hypertension and several types of cancer. In what way can we get our pets thinner and then make sure they stay fit so they won’t get these horrible diseases? It’s not really as hard as you may think. Here are 5 tips to help you get your pet thinner and stay that way:

5. Count Their Calories

If you are not sure of the number of calories your dog or cat needs daily, then you won’t know the amount of food they should eat either. And you can’t really use the info on the back of the food bag either because those are meant for adult animals that aren’t spayed or neutered. So if your pet is older, as well as they have been spayed or neutered and they lay around the house all the time, likely you are feeding them between twenty and thirty percent too much food if you follow the bag guidelines.

Instead, you should talk to your vet to find out how many calories your dog or cat should have daily. Another great place to start is the following formula: Divide the amount your dog or cat weighs by 2.2. Then, multiply that by 30. Then add 70 to it and you will get a pretty good suggestion of the number of calories your pet should eat if they are an indoor pet which is not that active and who’s been neutered or spayed, who weighs in-between six and sixty pounds. Obviously, each animal’s metabolism is unique so be certain to talk to your vet prior to putting them on any diet.

2. Measure Their Meals

A pet owner’s best tool for keeping your pet fit is a kitchen measuring cup. Most pet owners just dump food into a bowel and never measure the amount they feed their dog or cat. Plus, what can be worse is that a lot of pet owners, especially those that have cats, just keep their pet’s bowl filled up all day so the pet can graze.

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention did a study that showed feeding your dog or cat s little as ten more pieces of kibble daily could cause them to gain one pound a year for small dogs and for cats that live indoors. So after you have done the formula given previously, then measure their meals to make sure they are eating the correct amount for their bodies.

3. Strategic Treats

Firstly, treats don’t have to be off-limits, but you shouldn’t give your dog or cat junky treats. If you plan on giving them some treats make sure they are the best kind. A lot of pet treats are just junk with lots of sugar or fat in them. These cause our pets to get fat and ruin their good health.

Instead, pick treats that are low in calories and don’t have added sugar that is good for your dog or cat. This would include treats with ingredients like sweet potatoes, blueberries, or salmon which deliver some sort of bonus like assisting in keeping their teeth cleaned or that promote flexibility. Whichever treats you provide, make certain to count the added calories.  A lot of pet owners feed their dog or cat the right food amounts, but then they ruin that good approach by giving their pet several treats every day. If you feed them as little as thirty added calories daily they could gain as much as three pounds every year.

A great idea is to break up the treats into tiny pieces and only give them to your dog or cat when they need to be rewarded. Don’t fall into the trap of giving them treats just because you feel a bit guilty leaving them at home when you go to work! Instead, you should only give out treats when they should be rewarded for their good behavior. Both people and their pets should learn they must earn those extra treats!

2. Essential Veggies

As an alternative to feeding your pets some sort of treat you bought at the store that’s highly-processed, try presenting things like baby carrots, celery, green beans, cucumbers, broccoli, bananas or some sliced up apples or even an ice cube. These can be a natural more healthy treat for your dog that’s still tasty. But don’t give your dog a whole banana or an entire apple because they do have a lot of sugar in them.

If you have a cat, offer them a few flakes of some tuna or salmon when you are opening a can for yourself. And by the way, you should also forgo the potato chips and share some of these low calorie treats with your pets! Then you will both be in better health.

1. Stay Active for Good Health

One of the best tools to help your pet live a long life free from illness and pain is to introduce some exercise. Plus you too can join in and be their exercise buddy! With a dog, if you take them on a walk for as few as twenty to thirty minutes, it will help to boost their immune system, as well as their heart health. Plus it can even lower a lot of their behavior issues.

If you have a cat, you can play with them with a laser pointer or some kind of remote-controlled toy or even a wadded up ball of paper. Try to do this between five and fifteen minutes daily.

You’d be doing you and your dog a big favor if you start taking a walk every day no matter if it rains or the sun is shining. It provides benefits for both of you!

It is a pet owner’s responsibility to assist our pets in maintaining their optimal weight. Just like you would never go for a walk without putting your dog on a leash, and you’d never feed them only unhealthy things like ice cream or pizza (even though they likely would love that) it is a pet owner’s responsibility to feed their pet a nutritious diet as well as make sure they get enough exercise. If you use the above easy suggestions, you will be on the road to making his year the most healthy year of your pet’s life.

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