National Pet Obesity Day

September 9, 2013

 

Every October, shelters across the country take a hard look at statistics regarding obese animals and how the animals in their care stack up to the national average. October 9, 2013, is most certainly a day of reflection, but National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is also an opportunity to brainstorm and come up with viable solutions to this rampant problem.

Recruiting more volunteers to care for the animals- to play with them, to walk them, and so on- is an obvious fix. But the question of how to recruit more reliable helpers remains. On National Pet Obesity Awareness Day, shelter managers and coordinators should go to the local dog parks in search of assistance. The owners willing to bring their own pets to the park already have a vested interest in pet health. Convincing them to walk and play with a second dog might be easier than you think.

National Pet Obesity Awareness Day is also a great day to get in contact with food manufacturers who specialize in high-quality food and treats. Many of these companies who create all-natural foods claim their foods can help dogs and cats maintain a healthy weight. Express your interest in having the animals at your shelter eat food that is better suited to their nutritional needs.

Of course, every shelter is always in need of additional funds to help care for the animals and pay overhead costs. October 9 would be the ideal day to host a fundraiser at a local park. Obstacle courses, Frisbee retrieval competitions, and other activities and challenges that get animals moving are especially appropriate on a day dedicated to exposing the hazards of animal obesity.

Ultimately, decreasing pet obesity benefits everyone. For shelter managers and directors, decreasing the healthcare costs associated with overweight animals can free up more money for property improvements or taking in more abandoned animals. Fewer obese animals can even mean lower insurance premiums for shelters and humane societies. As someone with a personal and financial interest in decreasing animal obesity, it is critically important to promote and participate in National Pet Obesity Awareness Day.

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