Free Ways to Get Your Pet in Shape

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Posted on 04/18/2014

Nearly three in four Americans are overweight so it shouldn't be that surprising that our pets are carrying some extra pounds as well. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention more than half of US dogs are overweight or obese and 57% of US cats are in the same boat. (http://www.petobesityprevention.org/pet-obesity-fact-risks/) Need to get your pet in shape? Check out these free resources.

Determine Your Pet's Ideal Weight
A 12-pound Yorkie may sound healthy, but that's the same as a female that weighs 218 pounds. Use the free weight equivalent chart at petobesityprevention.org to determine your pet's ideal weight. The Pet Weight Translator provides information based on breed and gender.


Make Healthy Food Taste Better
Pets are like people in that healthier foods may not appeal to their pallets as much as high calorie human food. Once you've chosen a healthy food for your pet make it more appealing simply by warming it up, adding a squirt of ketchup or a dash of oregano.


Enter the Pet Fit Club
The People's Dispensary for Sick Animals is looking for 30 pets to participate in their annual Pet Fit Club. It's a Biggest Loser style competition for animals. Ruby, a Jack Russell terrier, was the 2013 winner, shedding one-third of her body weight. Enter for free at pdsa.org.


Walk for Weight Loss
An easy way to help your pet burn more calories is by speeding up your walk. Instead of taking a leisurely stroll with lots of sniffing breaks, go faster. Shorten up your leash and pick up the pace, covering a mile in about 12-15 minutes.


Move the Food Bowl
Chances are you keep your pet's food bowl in the same place. Try moving it upstairs or into another room. The idea is to make your furry friend walk to get to their food bowl or water dish.


Keep a Food Diary
Just like humans, tracking food intake and exercise is a great way to monitor progress in your pet's weight loss. Print off the free activity and food chart at petobesityprevention.org. Catalog food, treats and exercise for each day of the week.


Free Fitness Class
K9 Fit Club is a network of gyms for dogs and their pet parents. Classes are designed to provide a great workout for both the dog and the human. Try out the beginner class for free and it may just give you and your pooch a new leash on life.


By Alison Storm


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