The Star-News

Fat cats have something to worry about

Fri, Aug 27 2010 04:00 PM Posted By: Special To The Star-news

If you think obesity is an epidemic that affects only people, you may be barking up the wrong tree. Pets also have to watch their weight.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 44 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats are overweight or obese, and that percentage is rising, with older animals displaying an even higher incidence of falling victim to those extra pounds.

Veterinarians report that overweight pets are also more likely to suffer from arthritis, heart and respiratory diseases, liver disease, skin problems, hip and joint disorders and diabetes.

"Just as for people, eating right and getting exercise are fundamental to a pet's health," says board-certified veterinary nutritionist Dr. Edward Moser. "Paying attention to the ingredients and amount of food that your pet consumes, along with increasing their activity levels, will help the pounds come off and stay off."

To help fat cats and pudgy pooches slim down, Dr. Moser says owners should choose a balanced diet for their pets with ingredients that can help naturally solve this challenging health problem, such as that from Wellness Natural Pet Food. For those plump feline friends, Wellness Healthy Weight is just the remedy. This special, lower-calorie recipe is formulated to help them achieve their weight- loss goals. A healthy blend of fiber satisfies hunger, and guaranteed levels of glucosamine and chondroitin support overburdened hips and joints. For health-striving canines, Wellness Super5Mix Healthy Weight Recipe is a satisfying, lower-calorie blend of ingredients that helps less-active dogs maintain a healthy body weight and overweight dogs lose weight. And it satisfies dogs' appetites with increased fiber, reduced fat and a lower calorie count.

Instituting a controlled eating plan is a step in the right direction to maintaining your pet's health, but increasing your pet's activity level is sure to help, too. Exercise is essential for a pet's happy and long life. It doesn't have to be strenuous, but regular exercise is key. Setting aside a period of time each day for your pet's physical activity helps encourage a routine and also gives your pet something to look forward to. Take your dog for frequent walks and be certain your cat has room to romp. That can help them burn off excess calories. "Remember, two extra pounds on a small dog can be like 20 extra pounds on a person," says Dr. Moser. "It's important to watch your pet's weight."

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