|link to image|
We hear a lot about the human obesity crises, and the numbers are disturbing, according to the Gallup Healthways Wellbeing Index, 63.1% of Americans are overweight or obese. What is even more shocking to me is that according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention 32% of cats are overweight and 21.6% are obese. The numbers for dogs are 35% overweight and 20.6% obese. What is even worse is the number of obese pets is growing. As pet guardians we decide what goes into our dogs food bowl, after all they don't feed themselves. When we make the decision to overfeed and/or under exercise them we are potentially shortening their life span and contributing to the development of a host of painful health problems. Not something you want to do to your best friend.
I know it can be tough to keep your pets at a healthy weight. I own two pugs and a bulldog, two of the breeds most prone to obesity. Plus when you look at a sweet face like this:
It is pretty tough to say no more cookies! But its important. I am always very careful to measure and weigh my dogs food. Through trial and error I have found that they need a bit less then what is recommended on most food bags. I make sure to weigh my dogs regularly and any time they gain, I cut back on the food and up the exercise. I also adore making my dogs treats, but I am very careful to cut them into teeny, tiny pieces.
Of course a healthy diet is only one part of staying physically fit, exercise is the other. Aside from helping with weight loss, exercise has been shown too delay the onset of Alzheimer's in people and these finding apply to dogs as well. So keeping your older dog active is doubly important, with a house full of seniors I wont forget this! I love walking my dogs, but like a lot of people I have a busy schedule. Particularly now that the school year is starting. My husband and I both work but we are going to make a concerted effort to be more active with our dogs, taking into account their individual needs (such as Dr. Zira's arthritis).
I have been writing about my dogs in this post, but I can definitely stand to improve my own physical fitness. As anyone who looks at my blog's recipes knows I LOVE to eat, and cook, fattening food. (I do try to make some healthy meals too). So exercise is important. Living in a big city I already walk a lot, ride my bicycle, and use my Elliptical machine, but exercising with my dogs more certainly can't hurt. I encourage everyone to join K9 Kamp, its a wonderful idea!