Overweight Dog? Here"s What You Can Do - The Two Best Things You Can Do to Help Your Dog
The Association for pet obesity prevention did a study in 2008 which revealed that 44% of dogs in the US were overweight.
This amounts to over 33 million dogs in the United States alone with this dangerous health problem.
As is the case in humans, being over weight provides nearly the same health risks.
The incidence of heart disease, diabetes, vascular disease, bone and joint disorders, and cancer are all more common in overweight dogs.
Unfortunately, your dog will gain weight on a rather slow basis, sometimes making it difficult to detect.
It might be first noticed by someone who doesn't see your dog very often.
You also might notice your dog being lazy or not wanting to exercise.
If this is the case, it might be time for a checkup at the vet.
Before starting a diet program with your dog is wise to weigh in so that you can track your progress.
The next thing you need to do is to calculate the amount of calories your dog is consuming.
Refer to the label on the dog food can and accurately measure the amount that you are feeding him.
You also must consider any additional food your dog is consuming, including treats, table stacks or whatever.
In a large family, your dog may be obtaining many more calories than you appreciate by begging from others.
In this case it generally works best to have one person in charge of feeding the dog and asking the others to refrain from doing so.
In order for to lose weight you must consume fewer calories.
This may be accomplished in one of two ways: you can either reduce the amount of his current food, or switch to a lower calorie food.
Diet dog food contains fewer calories, less fat, and more fiber to help fill up your dog.
The other thing you may consider is supplementing your dog's diet with vegetables: squash, peas, carrots, celery, and sweet potatoes all contain lots of fiber, fewer calories and even some vitamins.
It is best to feed your dog twice a day in the morning and in the evening at a prescribed hour.
Dogs should not be allowed to feed freely throughout the day.
Leave the bowl down for an hour or so and if it is not finished, save the rest for the next feeding.
Make sure you carefully measure the amount of food you are giving to your dog.
Using dog treats should be done very judiciously during the period of dieting.
Choose items which are low in fat and have few calories.
Don't feed them cheese or hot dogs or high-fat commercial dog treats.
You want to find treats that are low in calories and fat.
You can also give them small chunks of apple or carrot.
The second thing you will need to do with your dog in order to complete this program is to provide an opportunity for exercise.
You can start with walking your dog on a daily basis, and try to build up their endurance by increasing your distance gradually.
Any type of place stimulation will be beneficial, for instance throwing a ball or frisbee, playing tug-of-war or wrestling with your dog.
Schedule some time with your dog on a daily basis and keep it as a regular activity.
If your dog is severely out of shape or overweight, you may need to go quite slowly at first.
If you dog stops and doesn't want to continue, take it easy and allow the rest or take shorter walks more frequently to slowly build their endurance.
On the other hand, if you are an endurance runner and run 10K every morning, don't expect your dog to do so without a progressive training program.
In summary, the two things you can do to improve your dog's health, combat their overweight condition, and allow them to live a longer and healthier life all boil down to the same formula: diet and exercise.