Studies conducted in the United States reveal that 43% of dogs are either carrying excess weight or are obese. The truth is that obesity is the highest cause of typical medical conditions dogs may face during their lifetime, according to veterinarians. Such problems include:
- Joint stiffness.
- High blood pressure.
- Lower urinary tract issues.
- Fatty liver disease.
- Resistance to insulin.
- Skin orders that aren’t connected with allergies.
- Kidney issues.
- Shorter lifespan.
These reasons mean you should stop allowing your pet to gain so much extra weight by exercising him regularly and not feeding him too many treats on top of his normal food. You might be unwittingly killing your beloved pet.
The positive news is that it’s easy to prevent obesity. Make slow, gradual changes to your dog’s health and exercise regime and you’ll soon notice the changes. Have smaller portions of good quality foods. Have one or two walks every day, depending on the age and fitness levels of both your dog and yourself. However, you can always find somebody else to walk him if you can’t.
How will you know if your pet is carrying too much weight?
Feel each individual rib, one at a time. If his weight is fairly good, you should be able to feel the rib and a small fat layer. If you need to push hard or grope around to find any ribs, or you simply can’t find them, it’s time to get your dog onto a good weight-loss plan of action.
Feel around your dog’s tail near its base. He must have a layer of fat covering his bones. He’s overweight if that’s too hard or impossible to do.
Other areas to check include the: hips, shoulders and spine. Check for that fat layer and if it’s nowhere to be found, then he needs to cut back on that food he loves so much.
Check his waist from above him. If his waistline looks tucked in right behind the bottom of his ribs, his weight is in the healthy range.
Look at your pet from the side. See if his waistline is in sight. If his midriff and chest blend together with no visible waist, he’s too heavy. This may vary in different breeds. For example, whippets and greyhounds have similar bodies but are very think because their chests are deep and their waists are smaller.
If your vet has eliminated health conditions that could be making him put on the extra weight, then he should definitely be placed on a weight loss program.
Fad diets are no better for dogs than they are for people…useless. You must have concrete, sensible goals and only aim for
1-2% of weight loss for your dog every week.
Weigh him at the same time and day every week for best results.
Elements that comprise control over losing weight.
- Regular daily exercise.
- Changing your dog’s diet to a raw food diet and/or eliminate as many of the simple refined carbohydrates as you can.
- Use portion control, depending on the age, size, weight and amount of regular activities he does.
- Eliminate “free feeding” and outline a regular feeding routine for your pet so he doesn’t have to eat the bad foods because you have run out of the good foods.
How do you know how much food to give your pet?
Every dog is vastly different in his food intake and energy needs. The majority of pet Mums are usually able to figure it out as they simply make reduced portion sizes compared to previous dogs or even current dogs. Stick to the staples and not give him extras and the end results can be eye-opening.
What should you feed your pet?
Human and pet weight loss plans are the same. Do more exercises and put less in your mouth. Ensure the food is nutritious with good quality proteins. Add some regular walking and your dog will soon look like there’s less of him than ever before.
High quality protein and nutritious food together with a regular exercise routine is the best way to help your dog lose his or her extra pounds. Dogs are generally carnivorous so many will drop weight if you put them on a diet full of raw foods.
If you can’t get raw food easily, feed him canned and dry foods but carefully read the ingredients so you know its quality is good. Go for non-refined products and those as natural as possible instead of cheaper brands that are made more bulky with cheap, highly refined carbs that also have chemicals, preservatives, artificial flavours and foreign unhealthy ingredients. These are all things your pet won’t want to consume anyway.
Planning meals for your pet.
There’s a myth that says dogs will control their own weight if they’re left to “graze” on food. The truth is the opposite. If food is in their bowls, they’ll usually eat it all. “Free feeding” is the nickname for the grazing and is one of the primary causes of obesity and other maladies in dogs. Adult dogs should only have two meals each day, particularly if they’re trying to lose weight. Puppies need food three times each day during the first six months of life because that’s when they grow the most.
It’s almost impossible to eliminate treats completely, especially if your pet has you well-trained. At the start it may have been fun or cute if your pet went to where the treats are kept and barked, wagged his tail or looked at you with “those eyes.” Unfortunately it’s a hard habit to stop doing if it has been happening for a long time.
Treats give your pet and you some pleasure and fun. The simplest way to stop this is to decrease the treat sizes and restrict them to only a few treats. For example, dehydrated meat or freeze-dried treats. If your dog is obese, you might need to decrease the meal sizes to balance out the treats he eats.
Exercise has numerous benefits. It burns up calories to help him lose weight. It helps build a strong relationship with your pet and yourself. It boosts his immune system, his circulation and cardiovascular system and his mental health. It will also increase his lifespan.
His size and breed will help govern how much walking and exercise he can do. It could be a 15-20 minute walk twice per day. If he’s a bigger dog, it may be a visit to your local park to let him run for a while off the leash so he can run, play, burn up energy and play with other dogs.
A happy dog is a healthy dog.
After your pet achieves his ideal weight you can give him a little more food in his portions to maintain that weight. Watch him all the time and maintain the care routine:
- Check his ribs.
- Weigh him weekly.
- Look for his waist.
- Keep up your exercise regime.
Controlling your dog’s weight is well worth everything it takes to achieve it because he’s your best friend, companion, partner, family member and so much more. The longer he lives, the more time you have together with him.
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