While you may be taking care of yourself by counting calories and hitting the gym, you may not be doing the same for your pet.
A new study shows more than half of all dogs and cats in the United States are overweight, so we wanted to give you tips to keep the pounds off your pets.
"If you’re not up walking around, they're not going to get up and walk around," Fran Jensen said.
Jensen has two Rhodesian Ridgebacks. When they were puppies, she said, worrying about their weight was an afterthought.
"Most dog owners consider their pets their children, or at least a close relative, so they want to feed them well," Jensen said.
Nine years later, keeping the weight off has been somewhat of a job. Each day they spend about twenty minutes playing at one of the local dog parks. After the fun comes a strict doggy diet.
Eddie Garcia, director of Veterinary Medical Clinic, said the scenario isn't uncommon.
"As pets get older their metabolic rate decreases. They can gain weight without eating more, just like people," Garcia said.
A recent study found 53 percent of dogs and 58 percent of cats are either overweight or obese. Garcia said this often leads to diabetes and heart problems.
A good way to check if your pet is overweight is to run your hands over its body, he said. If layers of fat are keeping you from easily feeling the rib cage, there’s a good chance your pet could be unhealthy.
Garcia adds your furry friend should also have an hour glass shape when viewed from above, nipping in at the waist. Your pet should also have a belly that tucks up instead of hanging level.
Don’t worry if your pet is having some weight issues, he said, there are things you can do:
• Avoid feeding pets table scraps
• Instead of treats, give them extra petting and attention.
• Have your pet exercise at least 20 minutes daily.
• Be mindful of portion sizes and calories
• Always consult your vet on what combination of foods should be in their diet.
• Alway check with your vet before beginning a weight-loss regimen.