Watch your pets waistline: pet obesity could be worse than humans

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Pets don’t need to watch their waistline, but the health effects of carrying extra weight can be just as serious for them as it is for people.

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 60 percent of cats and 56 percent of dogs are obese, making it twice as high as human obesity in the U.S., which is one-third of the population.

Helping Hands Humane Society in Topeka says it’s important to make sure your pet has a regular exercise routine and good diet.

Experts say obesity is the single biggest threat to your pets’ health and urge pet owners to work with a vet to create a weight-loss plan.

“We probably think they look pretty cute because everyone likes a big fat cat or a cute dog that’s a little pudgy, but that can lead to arthritis or other things,” Emi Griess at the humane society said. “It’s always good to get with your vet to see if they’re at a healthy weight. A daily walk is really good for any dog, and for cats, you can get interactive toys that are going to make them run around and chase it and play. Anything that is going to get them active.”

According to the American Kennel Club, the amount of exercise dogs need each day depends on the age, health, and breed. 

If cats are obese, they often have trouble using the litter box and grooming themselves. It’s recommended that cat parents play with their cats two to three times a day for at least 10 minutes. 

If you are concerned that your pet is overweight, the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention recommends easing them into a workout routine that gradually increases their exercise time over a few weeks.

Helping Hands Humane Society also offers agility classes for your pet. It’s not only a good way to get your dog trained, but it also creates good exercise. Click here for more information on how to get signed up for one of those classes.

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