New website’s aim — slimmer, trimmer Fido and Fifi

    Do you know your cat or dog is a bit tubby, but are having trouble enforcing the diet your vet recommends?

    Dr. Grace Long feels your pain.

    “It’s an easy concept, just feed less,” Long said, “but it’s really hard to do a lot of times when you’ve got this dog that’s sitting there and staring at you with these big brown eyes and begging for food.”

    Long is a veterinarian with the pet food company Purina, which just launched an online pet weight-loss program in partnership with Jenny Craig.

    (No, it’s not April Fool’s Day; check the calendar. This is real, people.)

    Project: Pet Slim Down allows owners to track their pet’s weight loss, find diet and exercise tips, even watch a reality-TV syle web series on cats and dogs dropping the pounds.

    University of Pennsylvania veterinary nutritionist Dr. Kathryn Michel said some pet owners find it easy to feed pets less. For others, it is hard to separate how much they feed their pets with how much they love them, and they may need additional support and tips.

    “The more ways we can reach out to people and try to help them recognize what is a healthy weight for their pet and how to achieve it, the healthier dogs and cats we’re going to have in this country,” Michel said.

    According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, about a third of cats and dogs in the U.S. are overweight.

    For comparison sake, about a third of adults in America are obese, while another third are overweight, but not obese.

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