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The Pet Valu Fit Pet Project

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Meet Mylo, an almost three-year-old Jack Russell terrier. He’s a typical Jack, very busy, very active. He really keeps his family hopping, says owner Alexis Casemore. Mylo weighs 7.7 kilos and his target weight is five kilos. His problem is he shares his family with two other dogs who do well with free feeding (meaning food is available all the time) while Mylo eats non-stop. When they tried set feeding times, one of the other dogs, Diego the Chihuahua, went into shaking spasms from not eating because he refuses to eat all at once. Alexis knows they will have to be creative to help Mylo lose his weight. The plan includes lots and lots of exercise. Meet Diego in the next photo and their other dog friend Tai in the one after. Pet Valu’s Fit Pet Project

Got a fat cat? A double-chinned dog? An obese bunny? A flabby fish?

Chances are you do, because, just like in the human population, there is a growing epidemic of overweight and obese pets.

Which is why we're launching The Fit Pet Project, a once-a-month series of articles in which we'll look at the issues surrounding portly pets.

We're going to be offering helpful tips and tricks to get your pet on the path to fitness, and I'll be sharing the trials and tribulations of my beloved wiener dog Zoe's own weight-loss journey.

Most of all, we want to hear from you. We've created a special email address -- fitpet@freepress.mb.ca -- and we'd like you to send photos of your pudgy pets, along with their names, ages and, if you're comfortable sharing, their current weight and target weight.

We're hoping you'll also share your concerns, advice, and the successes and challenges your pet has faced in their battle to shed unwanted pounds. Your stories can help motivate and inform other owners.

What's in it for you? For starters, we believe you'll end up with a much healthier pet, an animal that will be able to avoid the multitude of serious health risks that go along with being overweight or obese.

Prizes? Oh, yes, there will be prizes! The nice folks at Pet Valu, the sponsors of this project, are kicking in a pile of gift cards, which we'll be doling out by randomly drawing the names of owners taking part. And everyone who submits their pet's photo and information will get a copy of my critter-themed book, Bite-Sized Doug.

If you're a pet owner, we'd like you to join our pack. It's the best way to give your best friend a new leash on life.

-- Doug Speirs

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