Gidget Paterson gets another bikkie but not enough exercise. Swimming is good exercise for overweight dogs, say vets.
Gidget Paterson gets another bikkie but not enough exercise. Swimming is good exercise for overweight dogs, say vets.

Feeding your pet too much is gross

By EMMA CORNFORD

IT MAY be vaguely reminiscent of a reality television show, but the search is on for the 2006 Pet Slimmer of the Year.

And with up to half of household pets in the Clarence Valley reportedly overweight, it is perhaps not as far-fetched a competition as you might think.

Grafton vet Olivia Meadows said between 40 and 50per cent of the dogs and cats she sees are overweight or obese.

"It's a huge problem," said Miss Meadows.

"It's not necessarily neglect, it's more that people don't realise what their pet should look like and think they're normal, when in actual fact they're overweight."

Miss Meadows said overfeeding was the major reason most pets were overweight.

"People say they only give their cat or dog a small meal, but when you factor in the treats, the leftovers and maybe some scraps the nextdoor neighbour has given them, what actually passes their pet's lips is a lot more than they thought."

So how does one help Fluffy become trim, taunt and terrific?

Miss Meadows recommends cutting Fluffy's food, putting him onto 'light' food and making sure Fluffy is getting the amount of food advised for his optimum weight ? not his current weight.

"There's a table on the back of the food and a lot of people fall into the trap of feeding Fluffy what is recommended for a 20kg dog, when in fact Fluffy should only weigh 15kg, so people have to watch that," she said.

"Exercise is another big issue."

Last year's canine winner of the Hill's Pet Slimmer competition was a Melbourne dog called Kaylah, who lost 20 kilograms after being weaned off a steady diet of fish and chips. In the feline section, the winner was Amber, who shed one-third of her bodyweight.



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