Pets aren't the ones putting their paws in the treat jar Saint John NB

As the human obesity epidemic grows many people are forgetting about our four-legged friends. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Associatio ...

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Pets aren't the ones putting their paws in the treat jar

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Getting the skinny on pet obesity and pet food

Photo Credit: Hill's Pet Nutrition

(NC)-As the human obesity epidemic grows many people are forgetting about our four-legged friends. According to the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA), 35 percent of Canadian pets are overweight*, a statistic they, in partnership with Hill's Pet Nutrition, would like to change.

Many pet owners may wonder why it matters if their pet is a little "soft" around the middle, but an extra eight pounds on a pet equals an extra 30 pounds on a human adult**. Couple that with the increase in associated health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease and high blood pressure, and our pet's pudge actually poses a real risk to its overall health and quality of life.

One of the easiest ways to begin fighting the battle of the bulge is with the right nutrition and feeding practices. The following feeding guidelines are recommended for overweight or obese pets:

• Feed your pet only the recommended amount of food, as indicated by your veterinarian or on the food package

• Use an 8 oz measuring cup when serving the food to avoid overfeeding

• When choosing a weight management or "light" pet food, check that the product meets the labeling standards outlined by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO).

- Dry formulas must not exceed 3,100 kcal (canine formulas) and 3,250 kcal (feline formulas) per kilogram of food, while canned formulas must not exceed 900 kcal (canine formulas) and 950 kcal (feline formulas) per kilogram of food.

• This ensures your pet is actually eating a true light product. Hill's Pet Nutrition offers a variety of Science Diet® and Prescription Diet® pet foods designed to aid in weight loss and weight maintenance in pets, which meet the AAFCO light labeling standards.

Other ways to alter feeding practices include replacing traditional treats with other rewards such as a long walk or game of fetch in the park and not giving in to begging for extra treats or table scraps.

"You may be met with some initial resistance when changing both the rewards system and feeding practices," says Dr. Diane Frank, Veterinary Behaviourist and President-Elect of the CVMA. "Pets are highly adaptable and will learn new behaviours quickly. They will be happier and healthier animals because of it."

Pets can't choose what they eat or how much they are given, so it's up to pet owners to make the right decisions for them.

For more information please visit www.petfitness.ca and www.animalhealthcare.ca.

Credit: www.newscanada.com