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Among owners of chubby pets,


45 percent believe their dog or cat is of a normal weight.


~ Association for Pet Obesity Prevention


through veterinarians, although many of these also contain chemicals, byproducts and fillers. Such diets can be used to attain the target weight, and then replaced with a homemade maintenance diet. Foods high in fiber work well for shedding pounds because they increase metabolism. Vegetable fiber decreases fat and glucose absorption. Fluctuating glucose levels cause greater insulin release that can lead to diabetes; because insu- lin is needed for fat storage, low, stable levels are preferred. Fi- ber also binds to fat in the intestinal tract and increases the movement of digested food through the intestines.


Supplement Options Several natural therapies may be helpful for treating animal obesity. These include herbs such as cayenne, ginger and mustard; white bean extract; chromium; carnitine; hydroxy- citric acid (HCA); epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG); and coen- zyme Q10. All have been widely used with variable success, although not yet thoroughly researched or clinically proven. A supplement called Vetri-Lean appears promising.


Based on a white bean extract, it has cut starch digestion by up to 75 percent in the company’s clinical tests. The for- mula also has EGCG from green tea extract to boost me- tabolism, inhibit carbohydrate-digesting enzymes and help maintain normal blood insulin levels, all to help dissolve fat and control appetite. Chromium polynicotinate, another ingredient, also helps to curb appetite, build muscles and reduce fat.


Exercise is Key


As with humans, a regular program of supervised exercise is essential to pet health. Experience shows that it must be combined with a diet and supplement plan to achieve maximum results for overweight pets. Along with burn- ing off excess calories, even mild exercise works to reduce hunger, improve muscle strength and aerobic capacity and improve functioning of organs. Plus, as veterinarians further attest, the activity is mentally stimulating for both animals and guardians, while decreasing behavioral problems. There is no one best exercise program for every animal; a sensible plan must be personalized to needs and abili- ties. Consult a veterinarian to determine the best regimen. As always, prevention is better than a cure, so staying alert to signs of additional pounds and keeping an animal from becoming obese in the first place is optimum.


Dr. Shawn Messonier has authored The Arthritis Solution for Dogs, 8 Weeks to a Healthy Dog, and the award-winning Natural Health Bible for Dogs & Cats. His Paws & Claws Animal Hospital is located in Plano, TX. Find helpful tips at PetCareNaturally.com.


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