6 tips to help your pet stay fit, trim this summer

Published: Monday, July 14, 2014 at 09:35 AM.

Did you know that the majority of household pets in the U.S. are overweight? Studies have shown that 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are either overweight or obese.

Those percentages have increased in recent years, with a whopping 99 million pets now living a dangerously unhealthy lifestyle.

Responsible and loving owners need to pay attention to the health and fitness needs of their pets to ensure they live long, happy lives. The American Veterinary Medical Association offers tips to help parents and children understand how they can help their beloved dogs and cats shed a few pounds and maintain a healthy weight.

Top Tips to Keep Pets in Shape

1.       Limit the amount of food you give them.  Just like with humans, it's important to control your pet's food portions. Pay attention to the instructions on your pet's food label and feed your furry friend according to the recommended amount of food per serving.

2.        Avoid giving too many treats. All pets love their special foods and treats, and it's hard to say no to those big eyes and wagging tails!  While you want to reward your pet for good behavior with a tasty snack, it's important to remember that those treats are usually packed with calories. The occasional treat is fine, but avoid the temptation to overindulge your pet.

3.       Never give your pet people food.  Certain human foods, including chocolate, cheese, and onions can be lethal for dogs. Other foods, including grapes and certain nuts, can also do damage to a pet's health and even increase their weight. So fight the urge to give in to the begging for people food and say no.

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