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Healthy Living Guide

Remember to have you pet examined by a veterinarian before starting an exercise or diet plan

Remember, physical activity such as this should be thought of as “fun with a purpose”. If you don’t like doing it and neither does your pet it won’t last. When you combine exercise with proper diet and lifestyle, you contribute to your dog’s health and can improve quality of life for both of you.

Walking – Few dogs will naturally walk at a pace that generates the elevated heart rates needed for sustained aerobic activity and weight loss. Based on observations, the average pace of people walking with their dogs is 25 minutes per mile, which is actually a slow stroll. They make frequent pauses (avg every 1-2 minutes) for the dog to smell an interesting object or mark territory. Walking for weight loss is very different than walking for pleasure. Make the objective to walk briskly from the beginning of the walk. Too often, if you start slowly, you may have a challenging time getting them to speed up. It’s not necessary to “warm up” before a walk or slow jog. As hunters, dogs have adapted to be able to accelerate rapidly with very little risk of injury. You can do your own warm up/stretches before if you like.

Fetch – Grab a toy and toss it around even if they don’t bring it back and prefer to play “keep away”. Try and get the toy back from them anyway. The exercise will be fun for everyone. For cats try a knotty knot, toy mouse or ball that crinkles. Shiny and crinkly toys are usually good for getting and keeping their attention.

Stairs – If your pet doesn’t have joint issues you can try placing food on each step on the way up and then start over again until their meal is done. Or place the bowl with a few kibbles the very top and alternate some food at the top and some at the bottom. Alternative – place food in different areas of the house so thy have to “hunt” for it

Feeding alternatives:

  • Toss their kibbles from their meal as treats for them to catch and eat.
  • Buster Cube/ Slim ball – Place entire meal in the toy and your pet will have to roll it around to get the food out.
  • Anti-gulp Bowl – Helps to slow your pet down when they eat. Good for those pets that just wolf the whole thing down.

Treats:

The best option is placing their allotted amount of food aside every morning. Then the whole family can easily grab some kibbles from there to give as treats. The other benefit is that it helps eliminate double feedings. No more guessing if they need more food or missed a meal.

If actual treats are given make sure to check the calories on the nutritional guide. Treats shouldn’t count for more than 10% daily calories. Some treats can contain more calories than their entire daily calorie limit! Also make sure to decrease their regular food by the amount of the treats.

Healthy treats: Purina Light Snackers, Medical Medi treats, Hill’s hypo treats, canine and feline metabolic, Feline Fiber

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