Pampered pets shouldn't be plump pets. Pet obesity is a growing problem in this country. A whopping 54% of pets are overweight, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. As we coddle our canines and fuss over our felines more these days, it's important to remember food is not love. Loving your pet means keeping them healthy too. To help your pet fight the battle of the bulge, The Jet Set Pets recommends several products below.
Pets who pack extra pounds are at a higher risk for kidney disease, various forms of cancer, diabetes, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, hyperthyroidism and heart and respiratory disease. Consider that a 90-pound female Labrador retriever is equivalent to a woman who is 5-4 and 186 pounds while a 12-pound Yorkshire terrier is similar to a female who is 5-4 and 223 pounds, according to Dr. Ernie Ward, who leads studies for the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
Your furry friend is overweight if it's difficult to feel his ribs under the fat, if he has a sagging stomach and if he doesn't have a waist.
Does your pet pass the fat test? If not, here are seven products you should consider to help fight pet obesity:
Feeding your four-legged friend healthy food is one of the best ways to show your love to your little pal. Learn how to read nutritional labels on pet food. It's almost worth the trip to Del Mar, Calif., one of The Jet Set Pets Top 10 Pet-Friendly Destinations, to shop at Dexter's Deli and chat with the extremely knowledgeable staff, including Owen. (There's also a location in Carlsbad.) Dexter's Deli sounds like a place where you can grab a sandwich, but it's a health food store for dogs and cats.
We stopped in yesterday and were blown away by the number of freezers filled with raw foods, including Primal, which our Lucy devours as soon as her dish is placed on the floor, Small Batch, Stella & Chewy's and Bravo. Primal's freeze-dried nuggets are great for traveling and we also like the dehydrated, grain-free offerings from The Honest Kitchen and Grandma Lucy's, both of which mix easily even when you're on the go with your petsetter.
If you don't have a store in your neighborhood that sells healthy pet food, some companies, such as Just Food For Dogs, deliver. Located on Pacific Coast Highway in Newport Beach, Just Food for Dogs looks like a restaurant from the outside. We were zooming by, thought it was a pet restaurant and did a U-turn to check it out. We were quite impressed with the healthy food being prepared right in front of us. No preservatives are used in the food that is packaged frozen and shipped to you.
Years ago Gucci's backpack for dogs was the must have item for pampered pooches. But for canines ready to tackle the great outdoors, check out the MAX Pack by Kurgo, which makes fabulous pet restraints and other products for pets on the go. Rover will feel quite important carrying his own essentials, like water, leash, pickup bags and HEALTHY treats.
The MAX Pack adjusts to fit dogs from 50 to 110 pounds and is water resistant. Kurgo recommends putting a bottle of water in each side of the pack on regular walks for a great work out. Also, Kurgo says pups shouldn't carry more than 25% of their body weight. If they're new to packs, start light and gradually increase the weight.
Treats are often full of sugar and fat and are the main culprit for pet obesity. Thankfully there are oodles of healthy treats on the market. We like Pawsatively Healthy Pet, which uses organic fruits, vegetables, eggs, flour, flax seeds, walnuts, oatmeal, applesauce and peanut butter made of organic Valencia peanuts. Order online and have them delivered to your door. We also give a paws up to Zuke's, which are available in stores.
Zuke's products include the highest quality meats, premium grains, fruits, vegetables and oils available. They are free of harsh preservatives, like BHA, added animal fat, nasty by4products and artificial colors and flavors. Zuke's treats contain neither corn, nor wheat nor soy and are all made in the USA.
Interactive feeders designed to make a pet work for his food are all the rage. We like this SlimCat™ Interactive Feeder by PetSafe. The BPA-free feeder distributes an adjustable amount of dry food as the cat plays with it. By providing smaller portions of food throughout the day, it helps to maintain optimum weight as well as improve your cat's digestion.
Cats will enjoy playing with SlimCat, which also enriches a feline's environment and improves alertness.
Nothing beats good, old-fashioned exercise for dogs. But busy schedules, extreme weather conditions and maybe even your own physical challenges make it difficult for Fido to get a proper amount of physical activity, which is 30 minutes of walking per day. That's when a dog treadmill comes in handy. Designed as a supplement to quality outdoor exercise, dogPACER treadmills have revolutionized the dog treadmill market.
Developed to offer exceptional quality treadmills at a price consumers can afford, the original dogPACER and the Minipacer for small dogs up to 55 pounds are made of strong but lightweight carbon steel, to withstand even the toughest workouts. And, the Minipacer was named one of the year's top new dog products by the World Pet Association at SuperZoo 2012.
Tagg The Pet Tracker is more than a GPS for dogs and cats. Tagg now includes an Activity Tracking feature built-in, which uses an accelerometer to monitor and charts a pet's movement throughout the day, giving pet parents an at-a-glance snapshot of their furry friend's activity throughout a 24-hour period. Data is accumulated daily and over 30, 60 and 90-day periods. This feature is an added bonus to Tagg, a product we tested and were impressed with.
In case you're unfamiliar with Tagg, it's an advanced GPS tracking device for pets 10 pounds and over that notifies pet parents via text message and email alerts if Fido or Fluffy wanders off. The lightweight device allows users to regularly track and locate their pet via mobile device or computer.
Next: Can Dogs Eat Peanut Butter?
Popware for Pets recently introduced its KlipScoop™ is a 3-in-1 pet food tool: a dry food scoop, a collapsible measuring cup and a sturdy bag clip. When collapsed, the KlipScoop clamps to the top of a food bag and lies flat against the side of the bag. With the bag tightly closed, the food stays fresh and the tempting smells stay inside the bag. At feeding time, the KlipScoop pops open and becomes a precise measuring cup for scooping the correct portion size of dry food every time.
We love Popware for Pets products because they are all collapsible, making them perfect for traveling. KlipScoop was one of the hot products at Global Pet Expo last month. Trusted vet Dr. Marty Becker named it to his "Becker's Best" Global Pet Expo 2013 list .