Don’t Play the Hunger Games With Your Dogs, Walk ‘Em Instead

I surprised my niece with an answer she didn’t expect when she asked me about the showtimes for “The Hunger Games,” not aware that she was referring to the new movie with Jennifer LawrenceJosh Hutcherson and Liam Hemsworth. I informed her that the hunger games were going on right now, in this very room. Puzzled by my answer, I knew that her question had nothing to do with my two dogs who were intently focused on the chicken sandwich that was sitting on a nearby table. My niece laughed and shook her head, explaining that she wanted to know about the movie, not the games my dogs play.

People Food

Oh well, I guess her Aunt Jodi isn’t the person to ask for movie information, but I do know quite a bit about my dogs and the hunger games they play. I suppose it isn’t as much to do with any problems of their hunger as it is with their desire to consume people food.

Skyla, who has a slight mix of Labrador Retriever, will actually sit and drool when she notices someone eating anything that contains chicken or turkey. We do our best to avoid sharing people food with them no matter how cute they look while playing their little games. We’re also careful not to fill their food bowl too much, as I know that today’s dog food is more calorically dense than it used to be years ago. It’s something we are cautious of, especially when we can’t avoid the recent information that 100 additional calories per day can result in a weight gain of 15 pounds per year. Unfortunately, only a few loving pet owners are aware of these numbers. Combine that information along with the fact that today’s pets aren’t getting enough exercise, and it’s no wonder that pet obesity is now an epidemic.

Which brings me to another reason why I always take my dogs for their daily walk. Of course, they enjoy their walks because of the exploring this allows them to do every day; personally, I truly enjoy their companionship. But I know that our canine friends need exercise just as much as we do, and that goes for everyone. Several people have told me that they don’t necessary walk because of their own better health, but because of their dogs’ heath instead. But they admit they love that their dogs actually hold them accountable… hey, I love that also!

Mutually Beneficial

I also love that people who walk their dogs 20 minutes a day for at least five days a week can produce a substantial weight loss per year. That’s something that I don’t need to be informed of — I am living proof that daily walking, along with healthy eating, can cause the pounds to melt off as I melted away 162 of them.

To sum it up:  healthy eating and exercise is important for all members of the family, including your furry friends. That means no more treats every time your dog does a trick or tries to play those cute little staring games like mine do. Reward them with praise, affection and a walk instead!

Photo credit: MarkScottAustinTX

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