Overweight Pets

Hey, it’s Gus and I have fantastic news for you! I’m here to be your life coach for today because we have to talk about something serious. Don’t get offended, okay? Y’all are getting a little… chunky. I know, its hibernation season but keeping off those extra pounds will keep you healthy and give you a head start on your bikini body for spring break (Daytona Beach, baby! Or you can go to Washington, D.C. like a nerd my sister, Lauren). Plus, you won’t be the person who’s still breathing hard five minutes after walking up one flight of stairs, so that’s a bonus.

Listen, I love snacks as much as the next guy but I need to tell you about all of the harmful consequences of being overweight. Here’s the most important thing for my furry pals reading this to tell their humans: FOOD DOES NOT EQUAL LOVE. I know, it hurts to read but it’s the truth.

News flash to the pet parents: treats can be really harmful to our health. I know you think that giving us treats will show us how much you love us and that feeding us every time you eat will keep us from feeling left out, but we already love you more than we can express, even the cats (I mean, they act like it’s just a coincidence that they follow you to every room, even though they don’t let you touch them. Nice try, cats, but you’re not fooling anyone). You don’t need to give us food to prove your love! We would enjoy a nice belly rub or 10 minutes of your time to play fetch so much more.

These small treats can actually have as many as 50% of the calories we should eat each day. Yep, you heard me right. That tiny square of cheese from the platter your friend brought to book club seems harmless, but for a dog, it’s the caloric equivalent of you eating one and a half cheeseburgers. The chip that you dropped between the couch cushions will cost your cat the caloric equivalent of half of a cheeseburger. These tiny treats actually translate to an entire meal for us… Not quite as harmless as you thought.

I can feel your panic through the screen but don’t worry, there are so many fun ways to get fit! Ask your human to take you on walks or get you some toys to play with. My favorite way to exercise is to play fetch with my tennis ball. Well, not fetch exactly, since I don’t actually bring the ball back 70% of the time. I really want my sisters to chase me, which I look at as a service to them because then I’m not the only one exercising. I also like to run around in my front yard chasing squirrels and protecting my family from intruders.

Eating a little less and playing a little more is a cheap price to pay for health when you consider all of the harmful effects of carrying around a few extra pounds, like the increased risk for heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, and thyroid problems. Plus, it’s just a lot more fun.

Here’s a fun idea! Let’s all make a New Year’s Resolution to get healthy and lose weight. Repeat after me (parents, you can participate if you’d like): I, state your name, solemnly swear to listen to Gus (who obviously knows what he’s talking about because he called himself a life coach, even though that title has no meaning) and put down the snacks because if Jared the Subway guy can lose that much weight, so can I (disregarding the rest of his sordid past).

Stay strong, friends. You’ve got this!

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