Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Does Fido Need to Go on a Diet

Your pet is tipping the scale? Well, for some pets it's very obvious they are a little on the rotund side, but for some it's not as easy to tell. Some simple questions to ask to determine if your pet is over weight are as follows. Can the ribs be felt with a gentle touch on the side? Do they have a visible waist? Is he slow to exercise and gets out of breath easily?
Many people request special diet food. However, that is only half the solution. Exercise is imperative as well. Assess how much the pet is being fed. The food should have the recommended amount listed on the back of the packaging. Beware of human food which is often filled with fat, sugar, and artificial dies which are not good for your little friend. Often, only simple adjustments are needed to help Fido get back to his healthy, svelte self.
Most dogs and cats do best when free fed. If food is available at all times, the pet learns to eat when they are truly hungry. It prevents the rush to gorge themselves which many animals exhibit when fed. However, this is easier to start they are puppies and kittens, but it is still worth trying. The next best technique is to feed them small meals throughout the day. At the very minimum, pets should be fed twice a day to avoid gastrointestinal problems and for better utilization of calories. Remember not to let your pet exercise for half an hour before and after eating.
When used in moderation, snacks are fine. However, keep to healthy ones. A general rule of thumb is that the more "human-like" the snack appears to be, looks like a strip of bacon, etc., the higher probability of it being packed with fats and sugars. There are many reduced fat biscuits on the market now. Also, there are light foods which you can find at home which will be suitable such as carrots and unsalted popcorn.
Consider the type of food your pet eats. There are many brands available to choose from. The veterinarian can be of assistance in selecting one which will be most appropriate for your pet's dietary needs. Finally, do not forget exercise. It is important to consider the age, breed, and general fitness of the animal when exercising. Also, be cautious of weather conditions such as heat or ice which could cause problems.
Joseph Devine
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