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August 24, 2011 at 8:26 AMComments: 2 Faves: 0

Weightloss Program for Our Pets

By Victoria Swanson More Blogs by This AuthorFrom the Paws & Awws Blog Series

We are now more aware than ever about the obesity problem in the United States, but what about our pets?

Unfortunately, obesity rates are also rising in our fur kids. Lack of exercise and a diet heavy in table scraps and treats are the two factors that play a huge role with our pet's weight problems.

So what do we do to get and keep our fur babies in shape? Here are some tips:

Twice-A-Day Feeding Schedule

A feeding schedule is a smart way to make sure your pet stays full throughout the day, while regulating their caloric intake. A feeding schedule should also help reduce "begging" and "counter surfing" behavior. These are two common two problems that we are teaching our dogs when we giving them table scraps.

For dogs, allow only 20-30 minutes (Set a timer if you need!) and then remove food and - ABSOLUTELY NO FREE FEEDING or TABLE SCRAPS! (Free feeding means leaving a full bowl of food out all day long for your pet to eat whenever.)

Providing them with a feeding ball is another great way to give your pet the food they need, while they stimulate their mind and body playing! This is an especially helpful tool for dogs that tend to "inhale" their food.

Get Them Moving!

Of course, you should first check with your vet to see if your pet has any health issues which may be contributing to their weight problem and to ensure they are healthy enough for an exercise program.


Walking. Walking, simple as it sounds, is really the best exercise for dogs. If your dog isn't used to walks, start slow and don't overdo it. If your dog is seems over-tired or is panting hard, slow the pace a little more. Build up to a solid walking program of 30-45 minutes a day.

For dogs that are doing great on their 30-45 minute walk, make things a little more challenging and have them carry a backpack. Just make sure that weight is distributed evenly between the two side of it. Your dog should be able to carry about 20-30% of their body weight without any problem, but starting slow and building up to this is ideal.

If you just can't find time to get in that daily walk, hire someone to walk your dog for you - your dog deserves it!

A couple other exercise ideas:

Swimming. Swimming is a very healthy way to exercise and easy on the joints, a great exercise for the water loving dogs!

Agility and Other Competitions. Events are an exciting way to have fun with your dog while providing exercise. Internet Search is the best way to find out more about opportunities near you for these.

A Note About Weather: Always be mindful of the weather outside. Very high temperatures carry the risk of heat exhaustion or stroke! Be sure your pet has plenty of water when walking on hot days and cut it short if they seem uncomfortable. Ice on sidewalks can also hurt your dogs pads, so if your dog seems uncomfortable on their winter walks, consider dog "booties."


Cats need exercise too! Scheduled playtime three to four times a day with your cat will help keep them entertained and as well as keeping their weight healthy!

String. Giving your cat a chance to move around and pounce at a toy at the end of a string is great entertainment for your kitty

Cat Nip. A paper bag with cat nip poured into it and a toy thrown in it can easily provide 10 - 15 minutes of playtime for kitty.

Toys. There are some great interactive toys for kitties at the pet store, visit your pet store today to help provide playtime and exercise for your cat Rotate your cat's toys every few days to keep it fresh and exciting for your kitty.

KEEP IN MIND: Of course, you should first check with your vet to see if your pet has any health issues which may be contributing to their weight problem and to ensure they are healthy enough for an exercise program.

Remember all exercise with an overweight pet needs to start slow. If your cat or dog is not responding to their new healthy program, revisit your vet. Exercise & reducing calorie intake are the 2 very important components of a pet weight loss program that will keep you and your pets healthy and happy!

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  • I like this - I did have to laugh at the part about leaving the dish out for 20-30 minutes, my dogs will chew a little but they both eat really fast like within 5 minutes or less. If they do not chew their food and swallow it whole is this a problem with digetstion?

  • Hi Nancy,

    To be honest, the norm is for a dog to eat their food all at once and not nit-pick at it. However, a person that has a dog grazing all day long needs a time limit. I wouldn't worry about them inhaling their food in whole pieces, the tummy will digest it just fine, however, what I would worry more about is the quickness of them inhaling their food. That can cause choking and vomiting it back up, I highly recommend for you to try the food balls that you can purchase at the pet store (the come in all sizes). When they roll the food ball around and only one or two pieces come out at a time, it slows down the eating tremendously. Hope this helps!

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