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Fit tips for fat pets: How do you keep your pet fit, slim and healthy?

The One Show Team | 17:26 UK time, Tuesday, 22 September 2009

How do you keep your pet fit, slim and healthy? Share your tips.

Ellie Harrison met Barbara Walton and Sandy, her overweight labrador. They're taking part in the charity People's Dispensary for Sick Animals (PDSA's) 100 day pet slimming contest.

The PDSA claim that one in three UK dogs are overweight. The charity has said that the growing number of owners who overfeed their animals could be guilty of "killing their pets with kindness".

The charity recommends a vet-designed strict diet and exercise plan for fat pets, to help them slim down to a healthier weight which will improve their life expectancy.

Top tips

  • feed your pet a balanced diet and follow the recommended feeding guidelines on pet food;
  • avoid feeding your pets tit bits. If you must give pets occasional treats, take this into account at meal times;
  • use a smaller feeding bowl if you think that you're in danger of overfeeding your pet;
  • make sure that dogs get plenty of exercise. A small dog should get at least 30 minutes exercise every day, more for a larger dog;
  • play with cats to ensure that they are kept active and alert
  • don't feed cow's milk to cats or dogs;
  • animals in hutches such as rabbits and guinea pigs should be given a run out at least once a day;
  • small animals such as hamsters can benefit from exercise wheels and balls.

  • More tips and a report at BBC Inside Out.

    See also:

    How do you keep your pet fit, slim and healthy?
    Share your hints and tips with the rest of us.


    • 1. At 7:44pm on 22 Sep 2009, EmJay_Rhosyn wrote:

      It also doesn't help that neighbours leave cat food out for all of our cats as though we don't feed them enough. All three of them now come to their very own nicknames, each referring to their weight; "Chunk" is my personal favourite and they do react to these, especially one word, "Dinner". My question is why on earth do people think that I don't feed them enough. They are all very greedy and we call them in for dinner regularly enough. They don't look as though they are starving or ill in any way. In fact, the RSPCA might be more inclined to assume somebody could be fattening them up for a roast.

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    • 2. At 8:03pm on 22 Sep 2009, sally1977 wrote:

      The vet on today's programme was advising about how soon you can let a kitten out after it has had its vaccinations. She said a few weeks. I work for an emergency cat rescue charity in South Wales and would like to point out that kittens should NOT be let outside until they have been neutered / spayed at 6 months old. From around 5 months old you could let them outside SUPERVISED but you should NOT let them go off by themselves until they are (a) big enough & old enough (around 6 months) AND (b) neutered / spayed AND (c) vaccinated.

      A kitten could be fully vaccinated by the time it is 14 weeks old BUT at this age, letting them outside would be like letting your toddler go out by himself / herself. They are simply not big enough or mature enough to take care of themselves and make easy prey for foxes & cars. The majority of the cats we see who have been involved in a road traffic accident are younger than 6 months old.

      Aside from the dangers posed by predators, an unneutered male cat will roam up to 7 miles to find a female to mate with (& similarly a female will call for toms in this radius) - and this is when they cross major roads (risk of being run over), fight with other cats (risk of fatal diseases such as feline leukaemia or feline aids), risk getting lost - let alone the obvious risks of pregnancy and yet more unwanted kittens being born. SOOO many unwanted kittens are born because people don't bother to have their cats neutered and spayed; an almost unbelievably large percentage of these kittens die - from fleas, worms, starvation, predators (such as other tom cats, foxes), cat flu - it really isn't easy being a tiny kitten born outside. And it is heartbreaking for the queen (mummy cat) too.

      I have seen so much suffering firsthand and I know for a fact that it is so very simple to stop so much of it: so PLEASE get your cats neutered and spayed before you let them outside - for their sake as well as yours (they will be much more homely cats if you follow this advice).

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    • 3. At 9:00pm on 22 Sep 2009, Banjali wrote:

      Items like that annoy me immensely. Cutting calories is not the important thing - cutting or even eliminating carbs, is.

      Neither dogs, not cats are designed to eat carbohydrates and sugary foods - nor a we for that matter, well certainly not in the huge quantity that is consumed in out Western 'Diet'.

      Dogs and cats are predominantly carnivorous. An odd vegetable or even a little bit of fruit is not going to hurt too much, but most dog and cat food, particularly the dry stuff contains an awful lot of carbohydrate - wheat predominantly. Some of the canned stuff does too.

      Not only that but tinned food is cooked. Since when have dogs or cats slaved over a hot stove cooking meat and two veg??? Again, an odd bit here and there probably won't hurt, but they are not getting the enzymes and elements that are present in raw meat and fish.

      No wonder, when they are eating the diet that we do that they too are getting the diseases that we are getting.

      PS. Even raw meat and fish is meddled with these days (unless you can get a source of good organic meat and cold water fish) having antibiotics and growth hormones and grains and goodness knows what else thrown at them so not even our animals can escape some problems.

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    • 4. At 10:46am on 23 Sep 2009, greyJumbug wrote:

      Do not over feed it or give it unhealthy treats. And try looking at yourself as you the owner are probably overweight as well and need to look at your lifestyle.

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