Dog obesity is a common issue among dogs three years and older. Just like us humans, obesity can be caused by various factors such as bad eating habits, lack of exercise, and illness. Taking proactive measures to control your dog’s weight is essential to avoid more serious problems like high cholesterol and heart attacks.
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, in 2008, an estimated 60% of dogs in the United States were diagnosed as overweight or obese.
We interact with many pet parents daily, and most pet parents stumble on this one question:
How do I know if my dog is obese?
The simplest way to know is by body weight. If your dog weighs about 10 – 20% over their ideal body weight, they are considered overweight. When they surpass the 20% mark, they are considered obese and at high risk. Although obesity is a common issue amongst dogs, it is certainly preventable.
Here are some tips on how to tackle dog obesity:
Choose the Right Diet
The first mistake dog owners make when choosing the wrong diet for their pets. They often opt for commercialized food brands with high protein and by-products without researching or speaking to a professional.
We recommend our clients do a little research based on their dog’s breed, age, and activity levels at home before choosing their diet. A large part of this is understanding your pet’s needs and basing a diet around that.
A common mistake is misreading the food guidelines and overfeeding or underfeeding your dog. It is essential to follow the recommended food guidelines.
Ex: If a dog food brand specifies 1 cup, dog owners will give their dogs 1 cup each meal instead of one per day. So technically, they feed their dog twice the required amount. Ensure you read the food guidelines to know if the portion is per serving or the entire day.
Get Them Moving
Many pet parents fail to give their dogs an adequate amount of exercise. Each type of dog has a unique level of stamina and metabolism and requires different levels of activity. Either they get busy with life, don’t know how to exercise their pets, or lack the knowledge of how long to exercise them for.
These are some easy ways to get your dog moving:
- Daily walks twice a day
- Playing fetch
- Take your dog to a park or on a jog
- Take them to dog daycare to get exercise throughout the day
If you live in a state with harsh winters, you can train your dog to run on a treadmill and get their daily exercise and reduce the chances of gaining extra weight.
Stop feeding your dog table scraps
Feeding your dog table scraps is a sure-fire way to get them overweight. They will not be getting the proper nutrition they need. They will more likely overeat because of it, leading to obesity. Not to mention the trouble you will have to get your pup to start eating their dog food again.
Feed your dog food that is appropriate so you can avoid this problem from happening in the first place!
It’s better to be safe than sorry when it comes to dog nutrition. Feed your dog food that is appropriate so you can potentially avoid any health issues in the future.
Limit the number of treats you give to them
You’re the best owner ever! You love your dog and want to give them as much love and treats, but limiting the number of treats you give your pup will help your dog stay healthy and lean for a long time.
Focusing less energy on food consumption means more time is spent doing what your dog loves – playing!
Talk to a vet about any other health issues that may be contributing to obesity
It’s important to talk with your veterinarian about any other health issues contributing to your dog’s obesity.
For example, suppose you have an overweight dog and has an underlying condition such as diabetes or arthritis. In that case, your pup will need different care than an obese pup without these conditions!
Consult with your vet, so the two of you can come up with the best plan to help your dog.
Reducing dog weight is not an easy task. However, with the right approach, it’s possible to achieve great results. The process requires a lot of dedication and good habits. Make sure you give the right food, cut back on fatty doggie treats, and make sure your pup gets plenty of exercises.