Get Ready for the Dog (and Cat) Days of Summer

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Summer is coming and many of us are spending a lot of time – and money – to make sure our bodies are “beach ready.” We’re eating better, spending a little more time on the treadmill and passing on the treats. As pet owners, we also need to pay attention to our pet’s fitness and nutrition. Here are a few tips to make sure both you and your pet are ready for summer.

Feed Your Pet a Balanced Diet
Protein is an important part of your pets’ diet because they supply the amino acids that build  healthy hair, skin, nails, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and cartilage. Protein also supplies the energy your pet needs to run and play. Cats, in particular, need a good amount of protein in their diet because they can’t convert carbohydrates into energy. While too much fat in your pet’s diet is not a good idea, a healthy amount of fat and carbohydrates are necessary for energy. Your pet’s diet should also be rich in vitamins and minerals that help your pet process bio chemicals.

Keep Your Pet Hydrated
Water is one of the most important nutrients in your pet’s diet because water is essential to helping your pet’s body function properly. Water helps the body absorb nutrients and aids in digestion. Water also provides lubrication for your pet’s  joints and tendons. During warm months especially, be sure your pets have access to clean fresh water at all times.

Make Sure Your Pet Gets Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is as important for your pets as it is for you. Pet obesity is an increasingly common health problem. It’s estimated that between 20 and 40 percent of all dogs and between 25 and 40 percent of all cats seen by veterinarians in the United States are overweight or obese. Not only does obesity keep your pet from running and jumping and enjoying many physical activities, it can also lead to a host of medical problems, including arthritis, diabetes and heart disease.

Don’t Overindulge
When it comes to rewarding your pets with treats, less is definitely more. According to veterinarians Race Foster and Marty Smith of peteducation.com, the golden rule is to limit the amount of treats to no more than 10 percent of a puppy’s caloric intake.