Eat healthy and exercise. Staying in shape is that simple, right?
Well, for my string bean nephew with his boundless energy & mile a minute metabolism it is. However, for me – and perhaps the rest of us who’re older than 8-years-old – eating well and keeping the pounds off really isn’t that easy. In fact, it’s really hard. Especially as we get older.
Being healthy matters though. A lot.
Why? Not because you have a wedding to prepare for or because you need to shimmy into a belly bearing swimsuit. You might. And those are all perfectly fine reasons to shed a few pounds. However, those motivators, while they might help sell magazines at the grocery store, are not why we care here at Healthy Paws.
We care about the topic of your health – and your dogs health, too – not because we ourselves ourselves have Photoshopped beach bodies. We don’t. Heck, I’m the first to admit that my own profile is more sausage-like than svelte. Really though, physical perfection is not the point.
The point – for both humans and canines – is that with weight gain comes higher risks for serious and debilitating medical conditions like diabetes, arthritis, heart and lung disease, high blood pressure, cancer, as well as a myriad of other tragic and often preventable causes of death among loved ones with 2 or 4 legs.
So, while more than half of all Americans say they want to lose weight, our focus today is on the fact that, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (http://www.petobesityprevention.com/), over 53% of US dogs are overweight.
We’ve written about this incredibly important topic before at Healthy Paws. However, today we’re excited to share some fantastic and highly tactical advice from a group of pet ambassadors who feel as strongly about the topic as we do, who’ve combatted the issue firsthand.
Please enjoy the post and, if there are any tips you particularly love, be sure to check out the our pet ambassadors on their own blogs.
Husky Haven - huskyhaven.org
I’d like to give you a few tips that I use to keep my menagerie of dogs fit. I have Lizzy and TJ, my 7 year old Huskies, Tank, my 8 year old Pit Mix and my current foster , Faith, a two year old Pit. During the winter they are usually OK, the weather is fairly decent in the Houston area , so 5 mile a day walks are the routine. They also play for hours everyday in the backyard. Because they get so much activity they get fed regular dry food (about ½ cup) with a quarter can of wet food twice a day. They also get a rawhide or some other chewy treat daily.
In the summer I have to change our routine to keep my kids fit in our grueling heat. Every day we are looking at 100 degree heat index, that includes our 90% humidity. We take shorter , more frequent walks, usually a mile early in the morning and a mile or more late in the evening. Once a week we will go on a 3 mile shaded trail hike, very late in the afternoon. Since I have the four dogs and own a sports car , dog parks are out of the question for summer fitness fun. So I decided to make my own dog park/ agility camp in our backyard. I set up a couple of small jumps and a tunnel and teach the dogs how to use these.
Whether they succeed at the jumps or the tunnel is not the point in my backyard, it’s to have fun and exercise. I also have four plastic pools situated around the course so they can cool off during their exercise. Because they aren’t as active in the summer, I change their diet to reflect that. They have the same amount of dry food twice daily, but no canned food, just a dollop of canned pumpkin , some cooked carrots or a handful of green beans.
Keeping your dogs fit is like keeping yourself fit, it takes consistency. No matter what the weather, go out and have fun with your dogs!!!
Beth is a retired chemical technologist living in suburban Houston , Texas. All of her dogs come from rescues in the Houston area. She has been with Husky Haven for the past six years, and is their event coordinator. Please go to Husky Haven at http://www.huskyhaven.org/ and Best Friends FurEver at http://www.petfinder.com/shelters/TX1156.html to check out the dogs Beth currently works with. She started her blog, http://lizzyslifewerejusthangingoutinit.blogspot.com/ to feature her dogs , but expanded it to emphasize the rescue dogs and their stories. Stop by the blog to say hi and see the current featured dogs !!!
A Tonk’s Tail - atonkstail.com
My own personal recipe for keeping a cat nice and trim? Clone Faraday. Mix one part maniac (see aforementioned feline) with one part full figured kitty, and the result is a pretty decent daily workout.
And one rather ticked-off girl cat, but I digress.
Seriously, we’ve found success by switching our home to grain-free. I’d love to say we were completely off dry food but some cats (yes, Maxwell, I’m looking at you) just refuse to part with the crunchy goodness.
Cats are obligate carnivores as many know, and they’re not built to efficiently process plant proteins or grains. So we focus our diet on brands that provide meat first, plus all the necessary supplements a cat needs to maintain a healthy lifestyle such as taurine.
Faraday and Allie eat a raw diet, reconstituted from freeze-dried nuggets. They love it, and it’s a ton of fun to watch Faraday eat, too. I swear he thinks he’s some big game hunter, ripping meat off the bone with his bare teeth!
I’ve seen him eat canned cat food and sneak bites of Maxwell’s kibble every once in a while. In those instances, he’s like every other cat on the planet – a fairly dainty eater.
But put raw food in front of him and Faraday turns into the Rare White Housepanther: with each bite, he’ll jerk his head around and give it a good shake before consuming it. Makes me wonder if instinct is kicking in, and he’s ensuring it’s good and dead before he eats it!
This has been our only successful weight loss diet with Allie, too. Our glam girl with the pink mani/pedi is slowly shedding the pounds and getting her svelte curves back. Of course, “slowly” is key for cats, as rapid weight loss can be deadly.
We won’t be able to call her our Buxom Tuxie much longer. She’s lost 2 pounds since her March weigh-in!
From Lisa Richman, author of pet blog, A Tonk’s Tale (www.atonkstail.com) and her three cats: Allie, Maxwell and Faraday