Overweight Pets: How to Trim Down Your Dog or Cat - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

Overweight Pets: How to Trim Down Your Dog or Cat

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It's not just people who put a little extra weight on over the winter. A lot of times our pets do too.

The Valley Today is focusing on pet health this week. And, it appears the obesity epidemic is not just a people problem.

Veterinarians say 75-90% of pets are overweight. They say just like people -- pets need more exercise.   People are more likely to walk their dogs, but cats could also benefit from a little exercise.

The amount of exercise your dog needs depends on its breed, age, and size. But a good goal is to aim for at least 20 to 60 minutes of activity each day.  If your pets haven't had much activity lately... don't suddenly take them for a three-mile run. Animals can suffer significant injuries when they are pushed too hard.

Vets say people also are often not aware of just how much they feed their animals. They say treats add up faster than you think. And, it doesn't take a lot of extra weight to cause problems with small animals.   

Teri-Lee James, a vet at Two Rivers Veterinary Hospital in West Fargo, says it can be eye opening to compare weight problems between pets and people.

She says an average cat weighs about 8-10 pounds. If he is a pound or a half a pound overweight that is 10% of his body weight. In comparison, that would be like a 100 pound person being 10 pounds overweight. So, just a little bit of weight for a small animal can be quite a lot.

A dog's calorie needs can be surprisingly small. Little dogs that aren't very active need as few as 185 to 370 calories a day. A dog weighing between 67 and 88 pounds may need between 1,100 and 1,700 calories a day.

Table scraps and other people food can contain way more calories than a small dog or cat really need.

Obesity puts our pets at higher risk for arthritis and shortens life expectancy.  It can also increase their risk  for certain tumors, high blood pressure, and heart disease.

Wednesday morning on The Valley Today, we'll take a closer look at dental cleanings for our pets. It's growing in popularity. We'll show you why.


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