You might benefit, too. Become a partner with your pet in getting healthy.
Yesterday afternoon I sat in my home office, eyes drooping and energy fading. My fingers tapped sluggishly, losing the race to meet a deadline. Then, Kelly padded over to my desk and pushed her nose against my leg. Sweet dog. Gentle dog. I continued tapping, letters slowly forming words. Too slowly. No way I’d meet my deadline. Kelly nudged my knee with her paw. Loving dog. But I had work to do.
Next thing I knew, Kelly raised herself up on her hind legs, put one paw on my thigh and slapped the keyboard with the other. The word I was typing became sdg2wretw5hfg. Kelly wriggled between me and the monitor and looked into my eyes. Out. NOW. Impatient dog.
I knew better than to argue. I rolled back my chair and grabbed her leash. You see, Kelly doesn’t only want a walk for her own good. She seems to sense when I’ve been sitting too long and neglecting my own exercise. She’s been doing this ever since we started our initiative to lose weight together.
Kelly also may have had another agenda. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that 54% of dogs and cats in the US are overweight or obese. The organization aims to raise awareness and educate people on ways to help keep their pet fit and healthy. Here are some tips that have helped Kelly and me.
1. Start with a checkup.
My veterinarian told me that excess weight put Kelly at an increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, bone and joint pain, and other conditions. (And, that’s also true for people) Losing weight may help your dog live a longer, healthier life.
Ask your vet how much to feed your pet, then measure. I used to feed Kelly “one scoop.” When I measured, it turned out that the scoop held twice as much as Kelly really needed.
3. Resist offering table scraps.
Healthy treats for your dog include baby carrots, green beans, bits of apple (no seeds), and slices of banana. For cats, try a bit of chicken or tuna.
4. Take more walks.
Kelly doesn’t exercise much when simply let out into the back yard. Take your dog out on at least one good, brisk walk a day. Seeing new sights and sniffing new smells is good for your dog’s body and mind.
Cats and dogs will burn off energy–and calories–with games of fetch or chase.
Of course, Kelly was right to urge me out on a walk–I always feel better after getting up and getting some exercise. So, consider yourself nudged by Kelly. Get up, get fit. Help your pet get fit. It’s more fun doing it together.