SPECIAL REPORT: Pudgy Pets’ Health May be at Risk - 8NEWS - WRIC | News Where You Live

SPECIAL REPORT: Pudgy Pets’ Health May be at Risk

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BETHESDA, Md. (WRIC) - If you think you spent a lot of time on the couch this winter, imagine how all of that time indoors affected your dog; packing on a few pounds can take a big toll on a pet’s health.

Warmer weather means fewer excuses for Rosie, Thunder and friends not to get out and play.

“You can’t just exercise a dog once a week,” said Jenny Chang, the general manager of Fetch! Pet Care of Bethesda. “You have to give them consistent exercise every day, even if it’s for, I would say, 20 minutes for small dogs, or 30 minutes to 45 minutes for big dogs like these.”

The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention says more than half of dogs and cats in the United States are considered overweight or obese. Just like with humans, these conditions come with potential health consequences.

“For cats, in particular, carrying extra weight can predispose them to diabetes,” said Dr. Robyn Johnson, a veterinarian at Wheaton Animal Hospital. “For my dogs, in particular, carrying that extra weight can lead to orthopedic problems, can lead to breathing problems. So, it is important to have your pet at the most ideal weight that you can get them.”

Johnson can spot the pudgy pets in her office, but how can owners tell?

“You can easily feel the ribs, but not see them. If you’re looking down on the pet, they come down into a little waist, so that waist cinches in,” Johnson said. “And if you’re looking at them from the side, their body tucks up in the back.”

Chang says getting a pet outside should be enough motivation to get them moving.

“All they really do need to see is another dog running, and they’ll start to change their own focus and start running with that other dog,” Chang said.

Be sure to acclimate pups to a new park before letting them loose for that workout.

Copyright 2014 by Young Broadcasting of Richmond

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