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Š 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Table of Contents

Section 1:

A Healthy Weight Loss Approach

Pg. 4

Section 2:

Teaming Up for Success

Pg. 6

Section 3:

Feeding Your Pet for Weight Loss

Pg. 10

Section 4:

Developing an Exercise Program

Pg. 16

Section 5:

Every Pet is a Champion

Pg. 20

Section 6:

How the Fur Fitness Challenge Began

Pg. 21

Section 7:

Our Inspiration & Mentor

Pg. 22

Section 8:

Pet Resources – Books & Websites

Pg. 23

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Welcome!! Congratulations for signing up for the 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge. The Fur Fitness Challenge is an exciting program designed to help pets lose weight and get in shape. Our goal is to make this event fun and enjoyable for you and you four-legged companion. If you’re cringing at the thought of long workout sessions, strict dieting and eliminating all treats from your pet’s menu - have no fear…you can relax! We want you to have an inspiring, educational and enjoyable experience. By following the steps outlined in this guidebook, getting your pet on the fast track to good health will be as rewarding as it is fun. So welcome aboard and get ready to enjoy the adventure…and remember we’re here to help!

The Goal of the Challenge The Fur Fitness Challenge is designed to address the growing crisis of the pet obesity epidemic. We want to help empower pet owners to seize control of their pets’ health and transform their lives. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 45% of dogs and 58% of cats in the United States are overweight or obese. Obesity puts your pet at risk for a number of health issues including arthritis, diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, insulin resistance, elevated levels of oxidative stress, cruciate ligament injury, skin disease, respiratory problems and many forms of cancer. Not only that, obesity makes it more difficult for your pet to engage in daily activities; just getting up, walking outside and climbing the stairs can all put a tremendous strain on his body. By helping your pets lose weight and get healthy, you can help increase their lifespan and make their lives more enjoyable. Research has proven that active, healthy weight dogs and cats live longer than their heavier counterparts. This means the healthier your pet is…the longer you’ll have to enjoy their companionship. You’ll have more time to play, snuggle and travel with your beloved four-legged family member.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section One: A Healthy Weight Loss Approach Not only do we want our pets to be healthy, we also want them to lose weight in a healthy fashion. The key word to remember throughout this challenge is Balance. Your pets need a balanced diet with the proper proportion of fat, protein, fiber and carbohydrates; and a balanced exercise routine. As a result, here are a few Fur Fitness Challenge guidelines: 1. No Crazy Diets. Let’s be honest, starving your pet to lose weight is simply not healthy. While this method may help your pet “lose those unsightly pounds” it will cause more harm than good, such as: • Low energy • Depression • Weakness & fatigue • Depressed immune system • Susceptibility to illness & infection In addition, don’t cut all fat or carbohydrates out of your pet’s diet. Your pet needs these nutrients for proper health. While these foods should be monitored so your pet does not receive an excess of calories, they should not be eliminated completely. 2. No Extreme Exercise. Pets who have been sedentary for most of their life cannot handle strenuous exercise right away. They need to work up to that level. Even healthy, athletic dogs should never be pushed beyond their limits. Pushing your dog too hard can cause heat stroke, torn muscles and tendons and fatigue. Exercise, like eating, should be done properly and in the correct amounts. Remember anything in excess, even something as beneficial as exercise, can cause damage. So don’t take your chunky Labrador for a 10 mile run as soon as you sign up for the challenge. This principle holds true for cats. Encouraging your sedentary cat to engage in strenuous aerobics, excessive jumping or chasing all at once can cause sore muscles and fatigue. It can also strain your cat’s heart, putting them at rise for a heart attack or heat exhaustion. Instead, start your kitty off with short, 5 minute workouts twice a day. Gradually increase the length and intensity of each session.

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3. No Extreme Weight Loss. Pets should lose weight steadily and consistently, but not all at once. Losing too much weight too fast can precipitate dehydration and malnutrition. If your pet needs to lose a lot of weight, don’t feel like you need to work harder than everyone else. Instead, just follow the program recommended by your veterinarian. If your pet is consistently dropping weight, that’s great. Be sure to celebrate your pet’s success and don’t worry about keeping up with everyone else.

TIP: Veterinarians recommend that pets lose no more than 3-5% of their body weight per month. So pets who have more than 10 – 15% body weight to lose should take it slow, stick with the program and work to meet their goal weight during the 2011 Challenge. Don’t worry - a diet goal and exercise plan will be established at the initial meeting with your supporting veterinarian. Making Fitness Fun! Throughout the Fur Fitness Challenge, we want you and your pet(s) to enjoy yourselves. We’ll introduce you to a variety of fun games and exercises that will make your sessions feel like a walk in the park. These workout sessions are a great opportunity to strengthen your relationship with your pet. By spending extra time together and working as a team, you’ll experience a deeper bond and friendship. As your pet nestles in your lap after a hard day’s work, you’ll know your pet understands what you’re trying to achieve. And will love you for it!

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Section Two: Teaming Up for Success The Pet Owner’s Responsibility You’ve signed up for the Fur Fitness Challenge and are eager to help your pet shed a few pounds. So now what? What role do you play in this event? To be honest, you play a very important role. As a pet parent, you and you alone hold the key to transforming your pet’s life. Through your love, consistency and determination you can help your pet enjoy a long, happy life, bursting with health and vitality. As a participant in this challenge you will: • Team up with a veterinarian who will act as the supporting clinic for your pet. • In conjunction with your veterinarian’s recommendations, implement an exercise program for your pet and follow it consistently (and remember, if you need help we are just a phone call away). • Identify a brand of pet food that is packed with the nutrients your pet needs to thrive and serving sizes that will facilitate weight loss (we offer some healthy tips in Section 3). • Avoid over-indulging your pet on treats that are loaded with sugar, fat and carbohydrates. Instead, replace these types of treats with healthier alternatives such as fruits and veggies. • Try substituting extra love and affection for treats at least half of the time. This can make a world of difference in your pet’s health and even help him lose his obsession with food. • Take your pet to the clinic for monthly weight checks. • Fax or email your pet’s initialed Weight Loss Challenge Card to Fur Fitness each month so we can celebrate participants’ progress on the Fur Fitness Facebook Page and post our encouragement to you throughout the challenge. Team up with a Veterinarian All challengers will be required to team with a supporting veterinarian. This can be any veterinarian of your choice. We’ve done our best to notify as many veterinarians in the community as possible but if your veterinarian has not heard about the challenge they are welcome and encouraged to participate. Send us their contact information and we will forward them information regarding the challenge.

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Your supporting veterinarian will be responsible to: • Provide initial weight check and help set nutrition, exercise and weight loss goals • Offer free monthly weight checks • Record the amount of weight your pet has lost • Initial your pet’s Fur Fitness Challenge Weight Loss Card and fax to (800) 518.9654 • Provide resources and information to help your pet succeed in this challenge. So how do you find a supporting veterinarian? Here are a few tips. • Ask your current veterinarian if he would be willing to support your pet • Ask a friend to refer you to a veterinarian they know and trust • Contact veterinarians who have pre-committed to being involved in the challenge. You can find a list of supporting veterinarians on our Fur Fitness Challenge website, Monthly Weight Checks & Updates Remember, pets will be required to visit their supporting veterinary clinic on a monthly basis. The veterinarian or a licensed technician must weigh your pet, record his current weight and date and initial your Fur Fitness Challenge Weight Loss Card. Each month, you or your veterinarian must fax (800.518.9654) your pet’s initialed Weight Loss Challenge Card to Fur Fitness so we can track the challengers progress. Please note that additional veterinarian services will likely be billed at your veterinarian’s standard rates. Developing a Feeding & Exercise Schedule Helping your pet lose weight and become healthier will require dedication and persistence. Unfortunately, just like for humans, there is no magic pill or pre-packaged diet that can do it all. It’s up to you and your pet to work as a team, meet the goal and finish with flying colors!! In order to keep yourself and your pet on track, we recommend developing a feeding & exercise schedule that suits your lifestyle. This doesn’t have to be anything fancy. The most important thing is to make it convenient and budget-friendly for you. Otherwise you’ll have a hard time sticking with it. We have provided a sample Feeding & Exercise Tracker worksheet posted on the Fur Fitness Challenge website for your use.

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TIP: If you have to be at work at 7:00 in the morning, you might find it easier to exercise your pet in the evening when you get home. Or maybe you’re a morning person and prefer to take your pet for a run in the crisp morning breeze.

TIP: Don’t forget, many resources including your veterinarian and services like Fur Fitness are available to help you succeed. Make use of the support resources already in place for the challenge. Developing diet plan is also important. We’ll discuss the importance of healthy pet foods in just a moment. But right now we want you to understand that you don’t have to buy the most expensive natural, holistic or premium food to be successful in this challenge. While we do recommend purchasing the best food you can afford, don’t stretch your budget too far. If you select a food that is out of your price range, you will find it difficult to continue feeding it. If you cannot afford a natural, holistic or premium brand of food, try to supplement fruits, veggies and other natural foods in place of commercially processed foods and treats. Here are a few tips for developing your pet’s exercise and feeding schedule: • Keep it simple • Make sure to maintain a consistent schedule • Make sure it fits your budget • Be absolutely committed to following your plan • Write your plan down and hang it on the fridge where you can see it every day! Staying Motivated The most important factor determining your pet’s success is consistency. But in order to stay consistent - you need to keep yourself motivated. Remember, we don’t expect you to go through this challenge completely alone and unsupported. Our professional team of pet fitness trainers and advisors will be there for you every step of the way. Plus there are a number of exciting events in which you can participate. These are designed to boost your morale and help keep your eyes focused on the ultimate goal: a healthier, happier pet. During these events you’ll also be able to meet fellow challengers, swap stories and share the laughter and love you have for your pets.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Be sure to check back for date confirmations and join us for the following events this summer. • Day Hike-- (DATE - TBD) Come join your fellow challengers for a rip-roaring hike through the mountains. Watch your dogs run, romp and play as they build strong muscles and burn a healthy number of calories. • A Day at the Beach-- (DATE - TBD) Join us for some fun in the sun! Watch your dog splash through the ocean tide, dig for crabs and romp through the sand. The crisp ocean air will invigorate your pup and keep you energized for days to come. • Yoga in the Park-- (DATE - TBD) Here’s a chance for you and your pet to exercise together. At the end of this session, you’ll feel so good you’ll wonder why you ever thought working out would be a chore! • Walking Event-- (DATE - TBD) Help your pet burn calories while raising money for a local humane society. The Fur Fitness Challengers will be teaming up to support our local shelters. Bring your pooch and walking shoes to join the fun. Fur Fitness Challenge 2010 Timeline • The 90-day Challenge will begin on July 1, 2010 and conclude on Sept. 30, 2010 • Participants are encouraged to join in at any time • A completed Weight Loss Card with the final weight check should be faxed no later than September 30, 2010. Fax to: (800) 518.9654 (remember to fax your Weight Loss Cards monthly so we can celebrate challenger success). • An Awards Ceremony is scheduled for Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010 at Garfield Park in South Pasadena. Details will be posted on the Fur Fitness Challenge website and Fur Fitness Facebook page, See also, Section 5 of this guidebook. Fur Fitness Challenge 2011 Fur Fitness is committed to ensuring all pets have an opportunity to meet their weight goals. With this in mind, we will continue to offer monthly health and fitness events throughout 20102011 to help you and your pet stay focused and motivated. We will conclude with an Awards Event in October 2011. Be sure to visit the Fur Fitness website and Facebook page and follow us on Twitter for more information on upcoming health and fitness events.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Three: Feeding Your Pet for Weight Loss Nutrition plays a key role in your pet’s health. Food is what nourishes your pet’s cells and keeps the body functioning at top performance. You will need to feed your pet a balanced, nutrientdense diet that helps maintain a healthy weight. Calculating Calorie Needs In order for your pet to lose weight, he must burn more calories than he eats. As a result, monitoring caloric intake is critical. The first step is to determine your pet’s ideal weight. Once an ideal weight is determined, calculate the number of calories your pet needs on a daily basis. Remember, treats have calories too, so you must take those calories into consideration along with your pet’s regular meals. Too many treats along with the “normal” morning and evening feeding add up to unwanted calories and pounds. Below is a brief chart to help you determine your pet’s ideal weight and daily caloric intake. More information can be found by visiting the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention ( We also advise speaking with your veterinarian since they are most familiar with your pet and any special needs. Ideal Dog Weights * Breed Beagle Boxer Dachshund German Shepherd Golden Retriever Labrador Retriever Miniature Schnauzer Miniature Poodle Shih Tzu Yorkshire Terrier

Weight 26-31 lbs. 53-70 lbs. Less than 16 lbs. 70-95 lbs. 55-75 lbs. 55-80 lbs. 11-15lbs. 11 lbs. 8-18 lbs. 8lbs.

Ideal Cat Weights* Breed Domestic Cat Persian Siamese Maine Coon

Weight 8-10 lbs 10-11 lbs 5-10 lbs 11-15 lbs

Daily Caloric Needs * 10 lb cat 10 lb dog 20 lb dog 50 lb dog

180 – 200 Calories 200 – 275 Calories 325 – 400 Calories 700 – 900 Calories

*Information courtesy of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Educating Ourselves…On Pet Foods With so many pet foods on the market, it can be overwhelming to choose one for your pet. And, remember that there is no perfect food. Just because your friend raves about a certain type of food, doesn’t mean that it will work for your dog or cat. Some pets may dislike a certain flavor, or they may be allergic to specific ingredients. So take your pet’s individual needs and preferences into account. …On Ingredients & Labels Ever traveled to another country and tried to read and understand the menus, signs or language? That’s what it’s like trying to decipher the labels on our pet’s food bags. Currently there is a lot of controversy. Experts say that some pet food manufactures use words and terminology that are “designed to confuse consumers”. Bottom line is that pet parents and our veterinarian partners often do not understand how to read pet food labels. While we could go on and on regarding this subject, we admit this is not the forum and we are not the experts. What we do suggest is that you work closely with your veterinarian and visit the Fur Fitness Challenge website and Facebook page as we work together to win the battle to mandate that pet food companies clearly, in plain English, tell us what is in our pets’ foods. Keep this in mind; most experts agree that when reading pet food labels look for the following: •

The first several ingredients should be meat-based. Ingredients such as fish, chicken, or beef are ideal. There is still a lot of controversy about the words “meal” and “byproducts”; however, as you begin to educate yourself on proper nutrition for your pet it’s probably best to look for the protein source listed as the first ingredient.

Carbohydrate sources should come from low-glycemic fruits and vegetables such as spinach, squash, apples and pears and should not be listed as the foods first ingredients.

Fillers are another controversial area in pet food ingredients. Some fillers, including wheat and corn, cause allergies.

And finally, choose the brand you trust and be sure to keep a look out for recalls.

…On Expert Recommendations Recently, important time and effort has gone into researching the pet food industry. Controversy and confusion does exist however, even between the experts, with regard to pet

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


food processing and labels. It has been difficult for researchers to unravel what goes on in processing plants and what ultimately ends up in the foods but possibly disguised in the labeling. So, we suggest that your pet be held as the expert in partnership with their veterinarian. Your dog or cat knows what he likes and doesn’t like to eat. Be conscientious but open-minded. Mix things up a bit, experiment by making some homemade meals or treats - but most importantly be diligent with your own research and continue to educate yourself. We are ultimately responsible for our pets’ well-being and, as is true for humans, we are beginning to see just how important good, balanced nutrition is to overall health.

TIP: Pick up a copy of Chow Hounds. Why Our Dogs Are Getting Fatter - A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives by Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM or Food Pets Die For, Shocking Facts about Pet Food, by Anne N. Martin. You’ll be amazed and start to become more educated about the pet food industry! Healthy Food Recommendation Still confused but ready to purchase some healthy pet food and don’t know where to start? Here are a few brands to consider but we also urge you to talk with your veterinarian. (Note: The following list is in alphabetical order and does not reflect preference for one brand over the other. Pet owners are encouraged to review these, and other, recommendations and select the one they prefer. We encourage you to consult your veterinarian in this process). AvoDerm Natural Vegetarian Halo, Purely for Pets Mulligan Stew Pet Food Purina Veterinary Diet Wellness

Blue Buffalo Hill’s Prescription Natura Pet Products Royal Canin Veterinary Diet

Evo Holistic Select Newman’s Own Organics Solid Gold

TIP: Although premium foods may be more costly, the recommended serving is often significantly less which means the food will last longer. This cost-per-serving savings plus what you can save by using natural fruit and veggie treats over costly high-calorie treats can totally alleviate the seemingly “higher cost” of premium quality foods.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Extra Feeding TIPS to Help Accelerate Weight Loss • Place your pet’s food upstairs or downstairs so he is forced to burn a few calories. •

Move the food away from your pet’s favorite lounge spot. Some dogs and cats will camp near their dinner bowls in order to avoid having to move very far when the dinner bell rings. Even your cat knows the feeding routine, so make him work for his food too.

Do not feed your pets or give them treats in the kitchen. Dissuade any association with their feedings and yours. This helps to train them not to beg in the kitchen.

Never give your pet table scraps at the table – you’ll live to regret the precedent!

Do not free-feed your pets, especially if a second pet has a weight problem and eats the other's leftover meal.

Avoid self-feeders. This machine will provide your pet with a continuous supply of uncontrolled calories throughout the day.

When your pets start to beg, take them from the kitchen and give them a belly rub or some type of attention to take their mind off food.

Offer fresh water. Drinking plenty of water will help reduce your pet’s appetite and keep him feeling energized.

Feed multiple dogs in separate areas. This will prevent one dog from woofing down his meal, only to steal a few kibbles from his brother or sister.

If you have both a dog and cat, place your cat’s dish on top of the washer or another elevated surface. This will prevent the dog from stealing the cat’s food.

Do not feed multiple cats from the same feeding dish. This encourages cats to eat rapidly and often results in one cat getting more food than the other.

Cats tend to be grazers and enjoy eating smaller meals throughout the day. As a result, break up your cats recommended servings into at least 3 small portions to be fed at different times.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Using Treats Properly Just because your pet is on a diet, doesn’t mean you have to eliminate treats completely. You can still reward your pet with an occasional healthy treat. The key is to do everything in moderation! •

Don’t overdo it. One or two treats a day is adequate. There’s no need to feed your pet ½ pack of high calorie “meat strips” all at once. Those calories really add up.

Use fruits & veggies. Ideally, you should substitute healthier alternatives for processed, fatty, sugary treats. Try serving apple slices (16 cal), baby carrots (5-6 cal), broccoli floret (2-3 cal) cucumber slices (1 cal) as ideal snacks. Not only do they taste good, they are also low in calories and packed with vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants.

Use a healthy brand of treats. When buying treats, look for healthy brands that are low in calories, fat and sugar. Unfortunately, many of those brightly packaged biscuits and snacks are loaded with unnecessary calories. For example, a typical “fakin bacon meat strip” contains 30 calories. Large biscuits may contain 115+ calories each and a large dental chew may contain a whopping 300 calories.

How many treats to feed? Too many treats can cause a surprising spike in your pet’s overall caloric intake. Even healthy, low-fat treats should be given in moderation. If you feel like you have to hand your dog more than one treat at a time, break the treat into smaller pieces. Remember one or two treats a day should be adequate to satisfy your pet’s “munchies.”

How to Not Give In to Those Begging Eyes When your pup looks up at you with those bright, round eyes - just begging for a taste of your dinner, (let’s be honest!) it’s hard to resist. But your pet’s health is worth it. Here are a few tips for resisting those begging eyes: • •

Take your dog outside for a quick game of ball or catch. Play a short game of laser tag with your cat. This will help get your pet’s mind off food. Give your pet a hug instead of a piece of a meatloaf (they’ll value it more).

Provide your pet with a meal or snack before sitting down to eat your dinner to help eliminate those hunger pangs your pet feels when smelling your freshly cooked dinner.

Often pet parents don’t realize they have trained their pets to beg and also reinforced the begging by responding with scraps and treats. With time and consistency it is totally possible to reverse this pattern.

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Affection vs. Confection Try substituting affection for treats at least 50% of the time. There is nothing wrong with an occasional treat, but when the rubber meets the road; your pet would rather have your attention than a whole bag of greasy, meaty-bacon strips. For many people, providing their pets with an abundance of treats makes them feel better as pet parents. You may feel guilty for not spending enough time with your pet, or leaving them home alone all day while you are at work. But treating your pet to an ice cream cone or a fast food cheeseburger to help alleviate your guilty feelings is putting your pet’s health at risk. In reality, you have nothing to be guilty about! You love your pets and are doing everything in your power to make them happy. That’s why you’re reading this guidebook and are a part of this challenge. So don’t allow feelings of inadequacy to be expressed in overindulgence. To be a GREAT pet parent, all you have to do is love your pet and do the best you can to care for them. You’re already a star pet parent. Your dog or cat doesn’t need an excess of treats to prove that. TIP: Love & Affection = ZERO calories & ZERO added weight! Using Supplements Your veterinarian may be best able to determine what, if any, supplements your pet may benefit from especially if the pet is dealing with a chronic condition or short-term problem. However, in general, if your pet is more active than normal, his body will require a higher dosage of nutrients. A good way to ensure that your pet is receiving the proper amount of vitamins and minerals is to feed a multi-vitamin supplement. Unfortunately, you cannot always rely on dry pet food to provide all the vitamins and minerals your pet needs. Commercial pet foods undergo rigorous processing in order to ensure a long shelf life. Even the best of foods are subject to this procedure. During the manufacturing process, pet food is exposed to extreme temperature and intense heat, which destroys vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Although many of these nutrients are added back into the food after processing, they are frequently damaged by oxidation which occurs during bagging and distribution.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Four: Developing an Exercise Program How to Develop an Exercise Program Exercise will help your pet shed those unsightly pounds and reclaim his health. It also helps: 1. Remove toxins from the body 2. Increase blood circulation & energy levels 3. Improve mood 4. Decrease irritability and restlessness 5. Alleviate pain associated with arthritis and other conditions

Here are a few TIPS to help you develop an effective exercise program for your pets. 1. Take your dogs age, health, current fitness level and breed into consideration. Call us and we’ll help you start a plan! •

Older dogs don’t have as much energy as their younger counterparts. As a result, try fast walking and ball games instead of jogging or intense mountain climbing.

Pets suffering from a chronic disease will require a less strenuous exercise program to avoid over-taxing their bodies. For example, if your dog has arthritis, swimming is a much better exercise than jogging.

Smaller breeds often need shorter workouts than larger dogs.

Certain breeds such as Australian Cattle Dogs and Border Collies thrive on agility and hard running. Mastiffs often tire after a short jaunt and require frequent rest periods. Get to know your dog’s breed and endurance level before formulating an exercise program.

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2. Develop a specialized program that takes your cat’s skills and natural abilities into consideration. •

Unlike dogs, cats are not designed for long hikes or endurance running. Their bodies were made to move in swift, vigorous burst of energy that last for shorter periods of time.

Create a workout packed with activities your cat will love by providing an opportunity to climb, jump and use his stalking skills. That’s not to say you can’t harness up your plump cat and take him for a walk. You can! He will love the fresh air and the opportunity to explore. 3. Start slow •

If your dog or cat is currently out of shape and hasn’t exercised in months or years, start slow and work up. Begin with a 10 minute workout twice a day. Gradually increase that to 20 minutes and finally to 30-45 minutes. Ideally, you should exercise your pet for a minimum of 30 minutes each day. Cats also need to wake up those sleeping muscles. Take it slow and increase the workout session gradually.

4. Keep your pet hydrated •

As soon as you complete your workout session, offer your pet a bowl of fresh, cold water. If you are going for a long hike, carry a water bottle for your pet. Proper hydration will keep your pet feeling energized, allowing his body to focus on burning more calories.

5. Develop a schedule •

Make exercising your pet a daily priority. Figure out a time that works best for you then stick to it. If you are a morning person, schedule your pet’s workouts early in the day before work. If you find that you have more energy in the evening, do your workouts then.

You should try to exercise your pet about the same time and for the same length of time each day.

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6. Add Variety. You can keep your workout sessions fun and interesting by adding some cool games and different activities, such as: •

Dog Tag: Give your pet a great cardiovascular workout as you chase each other in the park, through the yard or around the house.

The Stairmaster: Find some stairs in your house, a local park or high school. Walk or jog your dog up and down several times.

Fetch Races: Liven up your workout session with this competitive game. Grab your dog’s favorite toy and toss it across the yard. Then race your dog to see who can retrieve the toy first.

Power Walking: Take your dog for a walk around the neighborhood. Mix in some jogging, or use the curbs to enhance an aerobic activity. Don’t be afraid to harness up your kitty for an outside walk too.

Water play: Toss some toys or rubber ducks into a swimming pool and allow your pet to retrieve them.

Obstacle Course: Set up obstacles around your house or yard for your pet to jump over. If you are walking on a trail, look for branches, logs and tree limbs to use as obstacles. Cats love to run through tunnels, up their kitty posts, or over the top of your counters. You can turn your living room into a mini-gym as you encourage your cat to bounce, jump and leap over furniture and other objects.

Laser Tag for Cats: In a dark room, run the beam of a flashlight or laser across the floor and walls. Watch your pet try to chase and pounce on the moving light (Be careful not to shine laser in pet’s eyes).

Swat the Feather: Find a long feather and tickle your cat’s nose or head. Swiftly move the feather up and down as your cat attempts to swat it with his paw.

Catch that Ball: Drag a ball of yarn or a toy across the floor, while encouraging your pet to pounce and tackle the moving object.

Toss’N Chase: Gather a handful of milk jug lids or other plastic lids. Toss them across the floor and watch your cat chase after them.

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Cat Curls: Using an elastic band, tie a cat toy to a 3-5 pound dumbbell. As you move the dumbbell up and down, encourage your cat to catch the toy. This is a great workout for both of you!

TIPS for Making Your Workout Sessions Safe, Productive and Enjoyable • When walking your dog or cat outside, utilize a harness or head halter instead of a collar. Collars can restrict your pet’s windpipe making it difficult for them to breathe. •

Avoid choke chains of any kind as these can cause serious injury to your pet’s throat and trachea.

If walking for long distances, always carry water.

Avoid walking on loose gravel as sharp rocks can harm your pet’s pads.

Avoid walking your pet on asphalt during hot days, as it could burn their pads. Try walking on grass or dirt whenever possible.

If your pet starts to pant heavily or becomes fatigued, give him a 10 minute rest. Snuggle up under a shady tree and gently stroke his coat, telling them what a great job he’s doing. He needs your reassurance!

Walk briskly. In order to help your pet burn calories, you’ll have to keep him moving. Strive for 12-15 minutes per mile. Don’t allow your dog to sniff or mark every fire hydrant or shrub you pass. Remember, the goal is exercise for weight loss!

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Five: Every Pet is a Champion The Fur Fitness Challenge is not about winners and losers. In our program, “Every Pet is a Champion”. As a result, each challenger will be rewarded for their efforts. Don’t forget to mark your calendars to attend our Awards Event on October 9, 2010. The event will be an exciting and fun opportunity to celebrate your success. All Challengers will receive a Recognition Award! These include all levels of achievement: • Awards for pets who met their weight loss goal • Awards for pets who almost reached their goal • Awards for pets who didn’t quite make their goal weight and are still in training for the Fur Fitness Challenge 2011 Additionally, the Awards Event will feature a variety of health and fitness vendors who will display their products, offer samples and provide fitness related tips and information. Raffle drawings for fun and exciting prizes donated by sponsoring manufacturers and service providers will be held for the challengers and attending public.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Six: How the Fur Fitness Challenge Began The Fur Fitness Challenge was founded by concerned pet parents who wanted more for their own four-legged family members. In an effort to prevent pet obesity and to ensure a healthier and happier life, Fur Fitness trainers help pets achieve optimal health and well-being through its unique programs and services. With pet obesity on the rise, Fur Fitness continues to create awareness about this epidemic and provide solutions -- through information, education and exercise. When you sign up for the Fur Fitness Challenge, you won’t have to go it alone. Our skilled pet fitness trainers are standing by to assist you in any way possible. We’re here to answer your questions, respond to your emails, return your calls and provide a wealth of resources. In Section 8 of this guidebook you will find additional resources we have found helpful in providing information about pet health, fitness, nutrition and exercise. Remember you’re not alone. Call us, fax us, or email us!

Phone: (877) Fur-Fitness

Fax: (800) 518-9654

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Seven: Our Inspiration & Mentor Dr. Ernie Ward, Founder and President of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention Our inspiration for creating the Fur Fitness Challenge was fueled by the passion and enthusiasm of Dr. Ernie Ward. Dr. Ward is a licensed veterinarian with over 20 years experience. As a popular lecturer, author and television guest, Dr. Ward has made it his life mission to help pets live longer, more meaningful lives. His research and work in the field of pet obesity has been revolutionary. In 2005, Dr. Ward founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention in an effort to raise awareness of this critical issue. Over the past three years he has conducted an annual Pet Obesity Study which has uncovered staggering statistics and startling trends related to the health of our pets. Dr. Ward has written 3 veterinary books, contributed articles to over 50 veterinary magazines and been featured on the Today Show, Animal Planet, Nightly News, CNN and Rachael Ray. He has lectured around the world on the topic of pet health and has been instrumental in raising the standards of veterinary medicine and clinical care. Most recently, Dr. Ward has written a book entitled: “Chow Hounds,” which focuses on helping pet owners develop effective weight loss programs for their pets. For more information on Dr. Ward, visit or

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Section Eight: Pet Resources – Books & Websites Books Alderton, D. (2007). Fat Dog Thin: How to Keep Your Dog Lean, Fit, Healthy and Happy. Great Britian: Hamlyn a division of Octopus Publishing Group, Ltd. Becker, M., DVM, & Kushner, R., MD. (2006). Fitness Unleashed! A Dog and Owner's Guide to Losing Weight and Gaining Health Together. New York, NY: Three Rivers Press Bonham, M. (2002). The Simple Guide to Getting Active with Your Dog. TFH Publications Brown, Andi (2006) The Whole Pet Diet. Eight Weeks to Great Health for Dogs and Cats, Berkley, CA : Celestial Art Coile, D.C., Ph.D. (2003). Beyond Fetch: Fun, Interactive Activities for You and Your Dog. New York: Howell Books Coile, D.C., Ph.D. (2007). The Dog Breed Bible. Hauppauge, NY: Barron's Educational Services, Inc. Dainty, S. (2007). 50 Games to Play with Your Dog. TFH Publications, Inc. Hotchner, T. (2005). The Dog Bible. Everything Your Dog Wants You To Know. New York, NY: Gotham Books Knueven, D., DVM. (2008). The Holistic Health Guide: Natural Care for the Whole Dog . Neptune City, NJ: TFH Publications, Inc. Martin, A.N. (2001). Protect Your Pet: More Shocking Facts. Troutdale, OR: NewSage Press Martin, A. N. (2008). Food Pets Die For, Shocking Facts about Pet Food. Troutdale, OR: NewSage Press Pitcairn, R., DVM (2005). Dr. Pitcairn’s Complete Guide to Natural Health for Dogs and Cats. Rodale Inc. Ward, E., DVM (2010). Chow Hounds. Why Our Dogs are Getting Fatter - A Vet's Plan to Save Their Lives. Deerfield Beach, Fl: Health Communications, Inc.

© 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Websites Association for Pet Obesity Prevention

Southern California Veterinary Medical Association

Pet Fit

Canine Obesity

Pet Obesity Task Force

The Pet Center

Š 2010 Fur Fitness Challenge,


Fur Fitness Challenge Guidebook  

guidelines for pet weight loss program

Fur Fitness Challenge Guidebook  

guidelines for pet weight loss program