Obesity in animals is becoming an epidemic. The answer is a healthy diet and regular exercise for those pets that need to shed a little weight, or even those that have reached their ideal body condition.
Consider substituting commercial pet treats with these five people foods to keep their weight in check and provide a satisfying snack or reward:
• Carrots are a great alternative to bones. They can even be frozen and given to pets that are teething. They carry a high concentration of betacarotene, which is an antioxidant that protects against cell damage. They will also boost your animal's immune system and help protect them from illness and infection.
• Pumpkin is a great source of fiber for cats and dogs. It helps maintain a healthy intestinal lining and good nutrient absorption. This is especially good for pets with chronic digestive issues that could benefit from firmer stools. It can also help older cats with constipation issues.
• Apples are another good source of fiber and contain phytonutrients that protect pets from cancer. Do not give the seeds or core to your pets, as they may be harmful and can contain arsenic.
• Yogurt can add variety to your pet's diet. It's a great source of protein and the live bacteria culture acts as a natural probiotic. Yogurt is also an excellent source of calcium for strong bones. Make sure you pick sugar-free yogurt that contains no artificial preservatives or sweeteners.
• Scrambled or boiled eggs are a source of protein and other nutrients that your pet may enjoy on occasion. This is a good treat for a pet recovering from an upset or sensitive stomach. Don't forget the yolks! Pets don't have cholesterol issues like humans.
• Knitty, a tan terrier mix, is 7 years old and weighs around 46 pounds. We did put him on a diet when he came to Buddy because he was very overweight. Knitty is a very social dog and loves to be petted and go for walks. He would be best in a home with no other pets or small children. He wants to be an only child.
• Kofi is a black retriever, Labrador, shepherd mix who is 7 years old and weighs 60 pounds. Kofi loves people and loves the snow and long walks. So, if you are in the mood to get in some exercise, Kofi is the dog for you.
• Contact The Buddy Foundation at (847) 290-5806; visit the shelter at 65 W. Seegers Road, in Arlington Heights; or find them online at thebuddyfoundation.org.