If your portly pet has gained too much weight, it can lead to health problems such as diabetes, hip and back problems, respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, and cancer. Pet owners concerned about their dog's or cat's weight problem can lead their pet out of obesity by following the sound advice and practical ideas in Plump Pups and Fat Cats
. Animal behaviorist Steve Duno has developed a seven-point weight-loss program not unlike the ones that work for humans: the plan emphasizes eating the right foods at the right times, exercise, and directing your pet toward healthier activities than munching on kibble.
Duno's first point of order is to ask pet owners to take a hard look at their pet's poor eating habits and the role the owner plays. After all, as Duno points out, dogs and cats can't open the refrigerator themselves. By recording your pet's weekly eating and activities in a journal, you may be surprised at how many extra table scraps and snacks, and how little exercise, Fido or Fifi actually gets. Duno then helps you figure out your animal's caloric needs, based on age, weight, breed, and activity level.
Duno also explains why free-feeding (leaving the food dish out all day) can actually work against your pet's natural instincts. In place of free-feeding, which many people do while they're at work to alleviate pet boredom, he recommends adding variety to diet and exercise. Duno suggests a number of exercise options for both dogs and cats (that's right, you can get your cat to exercise). He's also designed "enrichment programs" to help you stimulate your pet's intellect and alleviate boredom, another cause of overeating.
By following the guidelines and suggested activities in Plump Pups and Fat Cats, pet owners will learn from Duno's firm but friendly manner how to take charge of their pets' lifestyles and get them back on a healthier, happier track. --Kris Law
About the Author
Steve Duno is an animal behaviorist and professional writer who lives in Seattle, Washington. A native New Yorker, Steve is the co-author of seven books, including Anti-Aging for Dogs
. He lives with his eleven-year-old Rottweiler mix, Louie.