It’s not just a people problem: Growing rates of obesity in pets have led to the emergence of fat farms offering “pawlates,” “doga” and “barko polo” — doggy versions of Pilates, yoga and Marco Polo — to help slim down man’s best friend.

In the United States, 53 percent of dogs are overweight, up from 45 percent four years ago. In cats, the figure is almost 58 percent, said Ernie Ward, a veterinarian and founder of the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention in Calabash, North Carolina. Overweight pets can suffer diabetes, joint problems, heart disease and decreased life expectancy, he said.

Most luxury pet hotels and spas will customize a fitness program for a pudgy dog or cat, but only a few have fat camps for large groups.

Overweight golden retriever Ceili swims in a pool during an exercise session at the Morris Animal Inn in New Jersey. (Mel Evans/Associated Press)

For golden retriever Ceili, it was easy to fatten up when living with a boy who dropped food from his highchair. The extra weight led Eileen Bowers of Bedminster, New Jersey, to sign up the more-than-100-pound pooch for a five-day fitness camp last month at Morris Animal Inn.

Besides pawlates, the camp offered swimming, nature hikes, treadmill trots, massages and healthful treats such as organic granola. It was designed to give Ceili and 40 other dogs a head start on a healthier life, said Debora Montgomery, the New Jersey camp’s spokeswoman.

Staff worker Kelli Quinones walks Ceili on a treadmill for dogs at the Morris Animal Inn. (Mel Evans/AP)

Wonder how you get a dog to do a downward dog? You wouldn’t recognize that yoga pose in the canine version. In doga, stretches are close to the ground, while pawlates uses ­higher-up balance equipment, such as large exercise balls, Montgomery said.

And the barko polo pool game varies from its human inspiration: A staffer shouts “barko,” and the first dog-paddling pooch to yelp gets a toy.

In all activities, “the dogs work for their meals. We praise and make the sessions fun and interactive,” Montgomery said.

Bowers started sending her dog to the Morris Animal Inn months ago when Ceili hit 126 pounds. Usually, female golden retrievers weigh between 55 and 70 pounds, Montgomery said. Ceili got down to 118 but went to camp to lose more.

“We want her to be around for a long time,” Bowers said.

July 6, 2014

— Associated Press

Original Article Located HERE

Read more about valuable information about your pets nutrition here.  This site is authored by Jennifer Coates DVM.  Numerous topics are covered including food allergies, raw diets, and poisons and toxins.  Not just for dogs, but for cats and even birds.  There is current, reliable information about pet food recalls.



Check out this video from the American Veterinarian Medical Association about Obesity and Your Pet.  This video supports K9 Swim & Trim’s philosophy that there is no one size fits all approach to dealing with obesity in pets.  Weight loss is a team goal with you,  your vet and us all working together to improve the quality and quantity of your pet’s life.