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Get the skinny on dog fitness

August 1, 2008 12:00:00 AM PDT
Karen Schuber is crazy about her dogs, indulging them in love and oftentimes extra treats. So when her doxie Bella got pudgy, she decided to call pet expert Michael Torchia for some help."Frankie's 9. He'll be 10 in October, and Bella is 6," said Karen Schuber.

"She's doing a great job I just want to fine tune and give her more information on what to look for as far as foods go," said pet expert Michael Torchia.

Much like a personal trainer, Torchia looks at all areas of the dog's life for good health.

"The fitness and nutrition has to be a combination of both to get the ultimate results for a happier and healthier pet," said Torchia.

Along with daily walks, Torchia set up a canine obstacle course in Schuber's back yard.

"It's a fun way for you to give your pets exercise that's interesting, because when they do it, they get challenged," said Torchia. "You got to mix up your workouts and the obstacle course can be changed various different ways."

The easy-to-assemble obstacle course is about $40 and provides fun for people as well as pets. But if only a walk will do, Torchia reminds us that dogs look at the walk as a fun time to be with you, something many forget.

"People in their suits early in the morning practically dragging their dog down the street, on their BlackBerry or cell phone," said Torchia.

Makes it harder for dogs to eliminate, which along with exercise is often the purpose of the outing.

While dogs will eat most anything, there's a host of things that they shouldn't. For starters: chocolate, caffeine, raisins and grapes. They don't tolerate carrots and onions and raw eggs. And dogs are also lactose intolerant.

Torchia says their diet should be half protein, 30 percent fat and 20 percent carbohydrate. And while a nutritious snack is fine, he feels love trumps treats every time.

Nurturing is essential as much as nutrition and fitness.

 

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