When it comes to weight, Coloradans are often touted as some of the leanest in the country. But the healthy lifestyle doesn't always translate to their pets. A recent survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found more than 50 percent of dogs are obese. Kevin Fitzgerald is a Denver veterinarian and has been featured on the cable network Animal Planet. He says because dogs are naturally hunter-stalker animals, the American couch potato lifestyle isn't suited for their genetics. "And so we need to do a better job with providing exercise, so including them in family things that they can go with you and get some exercise becomes critically important," he stresses.
Fitzgerald also is a comedian and will be performing this weekend at Copper Mountain Resort for its Copper's Gone to the Dogs event. The weekend also includes 5 and 10K runs for people and their dogs, as well as dog diving into West Lake and off-leash play.
Fitzgerald says while exercise is important, real success comes down to food intake, and sometimes that involves a little tough love. "Your animal is totally dependent on you for whatever is put in his mouth,” he stresses. “It's not like he's ordering things, and so I think we need to provide good, healthy food." The Denver-based vet acknowledges it can be tough to carve out exercise time for yourself and your pet, but it can be rewarding. "It takes some discipline, and you have to earmark some time for yourself to spend some quality time both for yourself and for your animal," he says. Experts also recommend staying away from table food since it often includes a lot of empty calories not helpful to a dog's diet, and cutting down on the treats.
Dr. Kevin Fitzgerald performs at 5 p.m. on Saturday, June 28 at Incline Bar and Grill, Center Village. More info on Copper's Gone to the Dogs event here: http://bit.ly/CoppersGoneToTheDogs