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My name is Marisa. I am an LVT and have been for more than 6 years. Nutrition was never something I thought I would gravitate to or be interested in. My personal lifestyle includes Oreos for breakfast, breakfast for dinner and many other unorthodox meals at inappropriate times. Vegetables? I’ve never heard of such a thing.

That being said, I have found my way to pet nutrition and find it much easier to advise others what to feed their pets, than to think about what I am eating.

Obesity in animals is at an all-time high. If you are ever stopped on the street and told your pet is FAT, I understand. It’s hard not to cave into those sad puppy dog eyes or that meowing cat that sounds like it is going to pass out from hunger at your feet.

We have created a phenomenon that is becoming widespread throughout the U.S., “Food equals Love”. We want to make our pets happy. The easiest and quickest thing to grab is a treat. Not only is it quick and easy, your pet LOVES it! They wag their tail, rub on your leg, and show you that because you just fed them, they are eternally grateful and owe you their life….until the treats are gone and then it’s back to the couch to sleep, they are over you, it was a lie.

Once we start to realize that food isn’t the only thing we can give our pet when they are bored, obesity becomes less of an issue. Let’s say we substitute a few treats with their favorite ball or take them for a walk. They are getting exercise and cutting back on calories, it’s a win-win.

Let’s also say that instead of giving your pet that leftover piece of steak that’s smothered in gravy, you give it the left over green beans or brussel sprouts we didn’t want to eat anyway? Pets usually can’t tell the difference between an unhealthy treat and a healthy treat. If they like veggies, then it is a treat to them!

Other low to no calories treats which are fun and easy to make are flavored ice cubes. Boil some chicken or beef in water. Take out the meat when done, put the left over water into ice cube trays and freeze. They are flavored like their favorite meat but are primarily water.

Be creative in finding ways to keep your pets healthy. There are several substitutes for feeding treats or overfeeding your pet. Overfeeding does not equal love; it equals overweight which shortens your pet’s lifespan. Being lean can add years to their life which only means more time to spend with your pooch or kitty friend.

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