In the United States, a staggering 54% of all dogs are classified as being overweight. The reality of the situation is that obesity is just as dangerous in animals as it is in humans. Here is why, and how to take action to help your dog fight the flab.
The dangers of obesity in dogs
Being overweight can start to put an immense amount of strain on a dog’s joints and organs. It can also increase their risk of developing a number of terrible diseases that have the potential to reduce their quality of life and shorten their lifespan in general. Research has shown that being overweight can shave as many as two and a half years off of your pet’s life. Furthermore, overweight dogs have a higher chance of suffering from diabetes, arthritis, tumors, and certain types of cancer.
How to Help your dog lose weight
You are aware that your dog is overweight and you know that it is doing his health no favors. So, how can you help him to shed those extra pounds? The first step is to examine his diet:
- Are you feeding him table scraps?
- Are you neglecting to follow the serving size recommendations regarding his food?
- Are you feeding him more frequently than you should be?
- Is he still on regular adult dog food when he should be on a lower calorie food for senior pets?
All of the above can have a direct and drastic effect on his weight. If in doubt, consult with a great vet, like Heart and Paw, for advice on various changes that you can make to his daily eating habits in order to start seeing results.
You need to ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise. Just be sure to start off slow as most overweight animals will not be quite as fit as their active counterparts! If your dog is especially overweight, certain types of exercise may cause further damage to his joints. In this instance, avoid running around at the park and opt for swimming instead. Some pet owners just don’t have the time needed to ensure that their overweight pet gets as much exercise as they need. Therefore, it is worthwhile considering doggy daycare where your furry friend can run and play all day long.
Stop bad habits
Finally, it is essential that you strive to avoid giving in to begging. Overweight dogs have formed bad eating habits over a lengthy period of time and probably won’t take too kindly to their new, limiting diet at first. They will flash those sad puppy dog eyes at you at every opportunity and you will surely feel tempted to feed them ‘just one piece’ of your meal. Don’t! As with most human diets, ‘just one piece’ can quickly lead to throwing the entire diet out of the window if you aren’t careful.
By following this advice, you are likely to start noticing weight loss results in your dog within a few weeks. If you do not, be sure to consult with a vet for advice going forward.