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Tackling Dog Obesity

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SACRAMENTO (CBS13) –A new app is being hailed as a “Fitbit” for dogs as owners grow increasingly aware of their pets’ health.

With his son working lots of hours as a doctor, Pat Bynum takes his pup “Cadillac” to the dog park.

“He comes three times a week at least just to do this,” Bynum said.

It helps socialize Cadillac and also makes sure he’s getting the exercise he needs.

“I think it’s really important to keep them fit,” Bynum said.

Just as people keep an eye on their health, they’re also starting to take notice of their pets.  An app called Whistle can help track your dog’s movement – showing how much exercise their animals are getting each day.

“They say most pets like to get 20 minutes to an hour each day,” said Nicole Ulhaq, a veterinarian from Franklin Pet Hospital.

You can also see how your dog is stacking up against other dogs of the same breed. Ulhaq says obesity in our animals is one the most common problems she sees.

“It does play a role in their overall health and overall comfort as they get older,” Ulhaq said.

Most people aren’t sure how to measure if their dog is overweight.  Using her dog Stella as a model, Ulhaq says there are some things to look for:

Check for a tummy tuck near the back legs. If you’re looking at your dog from above, you should see the waist narrow. Probably the easiest way is to actually pet your dog along the ribs.

“If I run my fingers down here, I can feel her ribs very easily.  I don’t have to pinch a bunch of fat,” Ulhaq said.

Whistle measures a dog’s activities from a device that attaches to a collar, wirelessly connecting to smartphones through an app. It can be bought online or at Petsmart for about $130.

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