It’s a Dog’s World … Programs for Portly Pets
Obesity is not just a people problem. It’s also a growing problem with our pets. I was astonished to read that 53-percent of our dogs are overweight or obese, up 45-percent four years ago. Just like people, overweight pets can suffer diabetes, joint problems and decreased life expectancy.
Enter the emergence of “fat farms” that cater to pooches who need to whittle their waists. Classes such as “doga”, “pawlates”, and “Barco Polo” (versions of yoga, Pilates and polo) are being offered across the country.
Here in St. Petersburg we are fortunate to have the Tampa Bay K-9 Rehabilitation Center located at 4801 4th Street North. (Telephone: (727) 521-3518; firstname.lastname@example.org.), and this is what they have to say about pet obesity:
Being in a hot and humid environment almost year-round is a part of life in St. Petersburg and extra fat makes dealing with it much harder on dogs. Fat insulates the body, retaining heat. An obese dog’s respiratory system is weak to begin with and being hot can complicate the issue. There are typically two reasons why a dog becomes obese:
Keys to a proper diet for your dog:
- Reduce the amount of food
- Substitute current food for a low-calorie choice
- Create a schedule for feeding your dog
- Eliminate or minimize feeding your dog your own food
- Feed your dog its own healthy treats
- Make a schedule for feeding your dog.
Hydrotherapy: a useful solution to not only arthritic pain that an overweight dog may have, but also is a great form of general exercise. This can include swimming in a shallow pool or using an underwater treadmill.
Dry-land exercises: that utilize stairs and ramps. Remember, exercising isn’t all about losing weight, it’s about having fun, too! Physical exercise will add a whole other dimension to an inactive dog’s life, and any dog is sure to enjoy it. Dog weight loss programs are a progression, so they will never be worked beyond its limitations.
Preventing Dog Obesity, by César Milan
Fat Dog Slim: How to Have a Healthy Pet, by Victoria Stilwell