Monday, August 17, 2009

Five Tips To Help Keep Fido And Fluffy Fit

(NAPSI)-If your pooch is portly or your tabby is tubby, you're not alone. According to an Association for Pet Obesity Prevention survey, over 44 percent of dogs and 57 percent of cats are now estimated to be overweight or obese. Obesity is a major health concern that contributes to health problems in pets, just as it does in humans, so it's important to be watchful and responsible as a pet owner.

"Cats don't get as much exercise as dogs and a dog's metabolic rate can decrease by up to 30 percent as it ages," said Darlene Frudakis, president and COO for PetAg, Inc. "Those facts, combined with the issue of owners overfeeding and overtreating their pets, add up to weighty challenges for pets," she added.

The current market leader in pet health and wellness products, PetAg, now offers CatSlim® and DogSlim™, the first all-natural, nutritional food supplements designed to jump-start a well-managed weight-loss plan.

The company's products are complemented by a full line of nutritionally oriented products for pets in all life stages. Functional treats such as DogSlim™ Low-Calorie Bites, antioxidant-filled functional treats with real pumpkin and green tea, provide a nutritious treat that won't add to the dog's waistline.

Based on research by the nation's leading veterinarian organizations, Frudakis has compiled five ways to help maintain a pet's healthy weight for life:

1. Work with a vet to determine optimum weight.

Every pet is different, so work closely with a trusted veterinarian to determine a pet's optimal weight. Rapid, unexplained weight gain may be a warning sign indicating a number of health issues, ranging from excess fluid retention due to kidney problems, to a hormone imbalance caused by any number of medical conditions. Obesity contributes to diabetes, heart disease, respiratory disorders, osteoarthritis and more.

2. Feed treats responsibly.

According to the American Pet Products Association, 88 percent of dog owners and 65 percent of cat owners give treats to their pets. Many treats are filled with fat and empty calories. In pets, much like humans, extra calories contribute to excess weight and obesity that affects overall health. The calories in treats add up quickly, with many ranging between 50 and 100 calories each.

While owners are showing their love and affection with treats, these nibbles are largely expendable calories.

3. Substitute fruits and vegetables.

These high-fiber substitute treats are also packed with nutrients good for cats and dogs, but remember to cut in portion sizes that are suitable for a pet's size. Refer to vets' guidelines regarding the specific garden favorites that can be served to dogs and cats. Grapes and raisins, for instance, are not recommended and can be harmful. Healthy treat options that feature the goodness of real apple fiber, strawberries or carrots include PetAg's DogSlim Fruit and Veggie Bites-oven baked, all natural and high in dietary fiber.

4. Move!

Exercise is key when trying to help a pet lose or maintain its weight. Move food dishes for cats to higher levels so they'll have to jump to reach them. Take dogs on an extra walk each day. Keep in mind, however, health-related issues that might affect a pet's ability to exercise (e.g., a cat with joint problems might need steps to climb up to dishes and a dog with the same challenge might only go for an amble on warmer days outside). High in protein and low in fat, all-natural Rawhide Brand® Safety-Knot™ chews can provide hours of calorie-burning chewing activity and enjoyment for dogs.

5. Stop sharing table scraps.

Dogs and cats have different nutritional and digestive needs, so while they may enjoy lapping up leftovers, those same treats contribute extra calories to their diets and can add to their expanding waistlines. Studies show that a pet living on a lean diet can live up to two years longer than a pet that is constantly overfed.

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