Tuesday, March 11, 2014
According to a recent study, an estimated 10 percent of dogs in the United States are obese. That means there are more than seven million canines suffering from obesity.1 A striking number! If you are unsure about the healthiness of your dog’s weight, there are a few signs to look for:
Before starting Fido on a doggie diet, it’s crucial to first consult your veterinarian. Your overweight dog could possibly have a medical condition rather than an overeating-and-not-enough-exercising problem, so a weight-loss plan is not always the best solution.
Once you’re sure your pet is ready for a weight loss plan, you will want to begin by discussing particular kinds and amounts of food with your veterinarian. More often than not, diet dog food is not the best answer. Instead, pets need strict portion control. The best approach is usually to use high-protein food and to gradually decrease your dog’s portion sizes over the course of a week. You never want to do too much too soon. If your dog does not like his new food, you may want to try different condiments (or even garlic powder) on top to add flavor.
Another thing you might experiment with is how many times a day you feed your dog. Sometimes splitting portions into four or five meals per day works well because your dog thinks she’s getting more than she actually is. As with humans, another great way to weed out some calories is to use veggies as treats. Try green beans or carrots; this way your dog is still getting that crunch she likes. Whatever your choice of food, you want to be sure you are giving your dog daily calorie consistency.
Exercise also plays an important role in helping your dog shed pounds. Simply walking your dog regularly will get you some results, but make an effort to keep moving: A steady pace makes a world of difference. Other ways to get your dog moving are to incorporate some sort of fetching into his daily routine (10 to 20 minutes a few times a day) and to move his food bowl to a location where he has to climb some stairs.
Weight loss takes some time; do not expect instant results. Check your dog’s weight monthly, and if you do not see a loss of at least 1 or 2 pounds, you may want to adjust or contact your veterinarian for possible supplements. Perceivable changes will likely take at least six months to develop. Just remember that every little bit you do as a pet owner adds a little bit more time to your adored dog’s life.
1 http://www.petobesityprevention.com/pet-obesity-expands-in-us/. April 6, 2010.