Canine obesity is a growing epidemic. The negative health effects of obesity in canines are very similar to those in adults. It is estimated that more than half of the pets in America are overweight. That’s a staggering figure. As dog owners it is our responsibility to help our canine companions stay in shape, and the only person we can blame if they are overweight is ourselves. Helping your overweight dog lose weight won’t be easy, but if you stick with it you will both be healthier in the long run.
Being obese makes your dog uncomfortable and lowers his quality of life. Carrying around all that extra weight puts more pressure on your pet’s bones and joints. It’s harder for him to move around and lowers the range of motion in his joints as well.
Being overweight causes your pet to get tired faster too. All of these negative effects lower your dog’s quality of life, and no pet owner wants that. We want our dogs to be happy and healthy, and helping your overweight dog lose weight is the only way you will be able to give him that kind of life.
Video: Pet obesity: how can I help my overweight dog or cat lose weight?
What’s worse than all of this, is that obesity can be a life-threatening condition if left untreated. If your dog continues to be overweight for a long period of time, it will do damage to his internal organs and could result in an early death.
Overweight pets are more likely to suffer from:
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Lung disorders
- Cancerous tumors
- Immune system dysfunction
Helping Your Overweight Dog Lose Weight
We know the disadvantages of allowing our dogs to become overweight, but what if your pet already is? What can you do to help him? Helping your overweight dog lose weight has a lot to do with diet and exercise, but there are more tips you should be following as well.
The first thing that you need to understand is that if your dog is overweight he is taking in more calories than he needs.
If your dog is obese, you should work with your veterinarian to come up with a weight management plan for your pet. This plan will vary depending on your dog’s breed, age, weight and overall health condition. Your vet will know the correct caloric intake that your dog should have each day, and she can help you decide the most appropriate exercise regiment for your pet.
Odds are, your veterinarian is going to recommend a change in your dog’s diet. If you’re not already feeding a high quality dog food that offers a complete and balanced diet, then you should be. Your vet may also recommend a blend that is specifically formulated for weight management.
All commercial pet diets come with recommended feeding instructions. You need to follow these recommendations based on your pet’s ideal weight, which you can obtain from your veterinarian. This is the only thing that you should be feeding your dog for the time being.
You’ll need to decrease your dog’s food intake gradually. If you change his caloric intake too quickly it can slow his metabolism, making it even more difficult for him to lose weight. Like with humans, slow and steady weight loss in canines is more likely to provide long-term success.
Video: How to help your pet lose weight
Your dog’s recommended allotment of food will provide him with the calories that his body requires. Any added calories from snacks will just be working against your goal. This goes for dog treats and people food. If you feel the need to add treats to your pet’s diet, make sure you reduce his food intake to compensate the added calories.
Also, remember that the more nutrient dense your dog’s diet is, the less food he’ll need. These types of foods provide a higher calorie count in a smaller portion. Even though it may not seem like enough, your dog will get the calories that his body requires. Portion control is the biggest key to helping your overweight dog lose weight.