SOURCE: Pet Smart

October 05, 2010 08:00 ET

Keys to Your Pet's Wellness

MISSION, KS--(Marketwire - October 5, 2010) -  (Family Features) The problems of poor diet and a sedentary lifestyle aren't exclusive to people. Many pets don't get proper nutrition or enough exercise, which can lead to obesity and a host of other pet health problems.

According to a recent PetSmart® survey, 93 percent of pet parents believe what they feed their pet matters to the pet's health and well-being.

"Pet obesity is the biggest health threat to pets in the U.S., now affecting 45 percent of all adult dogs and 58 percent of cats," said Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, author and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. "That's about 34 million dogs and 54 million cats that are overweight and at risk for diseases such as diabetes/insulin resistance, arthritis, high blood pressure, kidney disease, cancer and more."

Dr. Ward recommends two ways that pet parents can help their pets live healthier lives: good nutrition and daily exercise.

Good Nutrition
People often choose natural foods for themselves because they are nutrient-rich and support overall health and well-being. These days, pet parents are making similar food choices for their pets.

Recently, PetSmart began carrying the Wellness® brand of natural foods and snacks for dogs and cats. Wellness is made with the finest natural ingredients, including lean meats, whole grains, fruits and vegetables, in wet and dry recipes.

"Feeding your pet a natural diet that is low in fat and calories can help an inactive cat or dog maintain his or her weight or help an overweight pet lose weight," said Mark Finke, PhD, pet nutrition expert for PetSmart.

Key nutrients and ingredients found in natural pet foods that support overall pet health and vitality includes:

  • Natural antioxidants like Lycopene and Beta-carotene.
  • Glucosamine and Chondroitin which help maintain joint health and may help overweight dogs and cats that suffer from arthritis.
  • Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids for healthy skin and hair and to help maintain an optimal immune system.
  • An optimal blend of dietary fiber to help maintain digestive health and to help satisfy a pet's appetite without adding extra calories.

Daily Exercise
Exercise is essential for a pet to have a happy and long life. Setting aside time each day for physical activity helps to encourage a routine and also gives pets something to look forward to.

"All dogs need at least 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic intensity walking per day. Larger breeds often need much more," said Dr. Ward.

Having time to do this can be a challenge for busy pet parents. One solution is PetSmart® Doggie Day Camp(SM), a place to bring a dog for hours of play and exercise with other dogs that have all been screened for group play. Supervised by pet care specialists, Doggie Day Camp is open seven days a week with flexible drop-off and pick up times.

Each pet's nutrition and exercise needs are different, and pet parents can visit or a local store for solutions that help their pets stay healthy.