Obesity in Dogs – How To Help Your Dog Lose Weight
People aren’t the only species facing a fat epidemic! The family dog is also bearing the weight of today’s inactive lifestyle and overabundance of treats and junk food. Heres how you can help your dog get (and stay) in shape so that he or she can live a long, happy and healthy life.
Is your dog becoming a bit pudgy? Does he look more like a Hippo than a hound? Could it be those little treats you’re giving him? Unfortunately, the consequence of too many treats is an overweight, sluggish dog. Overweight dogs have a higher risk of developing a variety of health problems and tend to have a shorter life span as a result of their obesity. If you’re concerned about your dog’s obesity, here are some tips to help promote dog weight loss:
Get a thorough veterinary check.
Certain medical conditions can cause your dog to gain weight. Excessive weight gain can be due to retention of fluid due to liver or kidney disease. Your dog could also have an under active thyroid. These conditions need to be diagnosed early for the best outcome for your dog. You can also discuss your dog’s diet and caloric needs with your veterinarian.
Adjust your dog’s food intake
If you’ve ruled out medical problems as causes for your dog’s obesity, it’s time to reevaluate his diet. Initially, you should cut back 20% on this intake of food in the hopes of promoting weight loss without causing your dog excessive hunger. You can also switch to a dog food specifically made for overweight dogs. Unfortunately, dogs sometimes don’t find these foods to be palatable.
Get your dog moving.
Dogs need daily exercise as much as humans do. If your dog enjoys retrieving, spend some time playing ball with him each evening. You can also exercise with your overweight dog by taking him on a thirty minute daily walk. A daily exercise session may be the key to helping your dog live longer, irrespective of his weight.
Stop giving your dog human junk foods.
Junk food isn’t healthy for anyone – particularly the family dog, who has a system that is not equipped to digest and deal with the high fat, salt and sugar content of most processed junk foods. Begging for Cheeto’s (and getting them) can be a significant factor in weight gain. Your dog is best served by a healthy diet designed for dogs. If you still feel compelled to give your dog human food, try something healthy like fresh fruit. Dogs really enjoy the taste of certain fruits and veggies such as apples and carrots.
Replace those high calorie treats.
The next time your dog begs for a treat, don’t give him a dog cookie. Instead give him a meat flavored bone designed for dogs that he can chew on for hours. These treats have the advantage of being calorie free.
Encourage your family to help.
It does no good to restrict your dog’s high calorie treats if other family members are giving him treats under the table. Discuss with everyone in your family the importance of getting your overweight dog’s weight under control. Give your family access to healthy treats such as apples and bones to give your dog when he begs.
Your dog should lose weight at a rate no more than 7% of his starting weight on a monthly basis. It’s important to weigh him regularly and keep records so you can show your veterinarian his progress on your next visit.
If your overweight dog needs to lose weight, give some of these tips a try. A lean and fit dog is sure to be happier and healthier.