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      Pet Talk: How to help your pet shed those pounds

      Dr. Jen Klabunde shares tips on how to help your pet lose weight.

      In this week's edition of Pet Talk Dr. Jen Klabunde of Northwood Animal Hospital gives pet owners some tips for how to help their pets get in shape and eat healthy.

      She estimates that obesity cuts 2-4 years off your pet's life.

      Klabunde said dogs should have a minimum of 30 minutes of aerobic exercise each day.

      To get your cats to exercise she suggests purchasing interactive cat toys or a laser light for them to chase around.

      In terms of diet Klabunde suggests measuring out how much food you give your pet each day. Many dry pet foods are high in carbohydrates so it is important to know how many calories your pet is consuming each day.

      Carbohydrates in dry pet food are estimated to be 20%-30% higher than what dogs need and are often too low in protein. Klabunde said the calorie counts on the back of dog food bags are often inaccurate. The serving sizes are based on adult dogs that are not spayed or neutered and are very active.

      You can measure how much your pet is supposed to eat by using a formula Klabunde has listed on the Northwood Animal Hospital facebook page.

      Klabunde said an extra 30 calories/day can add 3 pounds to your pet each year.

      Some healthy treats Klabunde suggests for your pet are sweet potatoes, blueberries, green beans and salmon for cats.

      For healthy supplements Klabunde suggests giving your pet Omega-3 fatty acids, which promote a shiny coat and weight loss, and L-Carnitine, which promotes lean muscle mass.

      Veterinary diet plans are also an option if your pet has difficulty with weight loss. Klabunde said your veterinarian can prescribe a metabolic food diet tailored specifically for your pet.