Dr. Ward tackles pet obesity with ‘Home and Family’

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Petfinder's Dr. Ernie Ward Chats with Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare on Hallmark's 'Home & Family'

Petfinder’s Dr. Ernie Ward Chats with Mark Steines and Cristina Ferrare on Hallmark’s ‘Home & Family’

We’ve all heard about our nation’s obesity epidemic, and there are countless books, articles, websites, TV shows and other resources dedicated to helping people get healthy. But did you know that it is estimated that 54% of pets in the U.S. are overweight or obese?

This is a figure that’s on the rise, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, and Petfinder is putting the spotlight on pet health with our Fit FurKeeps program and the help of experts and educators like Dr. Ernie Ward. Yesterday, Dr. Ward visited Hallmark Channel’s Home & Family to discuss this important issue and offer pet parents simple tips on how to ensure their furry friends are with them for a long, long time. He was also joined by adoptable dogs Maggie and Reese’s from Petfinder member Best Friends Animal Society and Spay/Neuter Center in Southern California).

You can tune in today, December 21, at 8am ET/7am CT (locate Hallmark Channel on your provider), but we’ll leave you with a few of Dr. Ward’s top takeaways:

  •  Measure Your Pet’s Food: Don’t rely on sight, instead use a measuring cup, keeping in mind that the recommended servings on most packaged foods are for the most nutritionally needy pets and that you should adjust this based on your pet’s age, activity level and other important factors.
  • Treat Your Pets…But Sensibly: If you’ve ever been on the receiving end of a whine or pleading face (my dog Bea is an expert), you know that resistance is futile. Keep in mind that packaged treats are often highly caloric and don’t hesitate to enlist fresh options that you and your pet can share, like fresh veggies for your dog or fresh tuna or salmon for your cat.
  • Get Active: While diet is the bulk of the battle, exercise is important to the health and happiness of all pets. Don’t let the colder weather or shorter daylight hours prevent you and your pet from getting needed exercise. If your dog gets cold easily (like mine), buy a coat or sweater to make them more comfortable. If you have a cat or the weather prohibits extended trips outside, play games inside and enlist interactive toys to make playtime in smaller quarters fun.

For more information and tips from Fit FurKeeps, visit petfinder.com/fitfurkeeps!

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