A recent survey revealed that 50% of America’s pets are overweight or obese. Dogs that are overweight are more susceptible to diseases such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and other debilitating illnesses. Letting your dog become overweight can dramatically shorten its lifetime.
We can help our dogs lose and maintain their ideal weight by following the tips below.
Cut back on unhealthy treats
The first step towards losing weight is to reduce their calorie intake. Too many calories + too little energy = one rotund dog.
Most commercial dog treats are very high in calories. To avoid those extra calories, go for healthier snacks such as apples, celery, broccoli, green beans and carrots.
Exercise more often
Developing an exercise routine can help improve your dog’s muscle tone, weight and overall health. Take your dog for a walk or run on a daily basis. This is not only considered as a good form of exercise; it also helps you build a stronger relationship with your pup.
As a dog owner, you also have to understand that the amount of exercise that is required for a dog depends upon their energy level and breed. For those breeds that are more active, try skateboarding, bike riding or doing hill walks with your dog.
A measuring cup is a parent’s greatest tool in the fight against excess weight. Unfortunately, this technique cannot be used for pets. This is because feeding your dog with 10 extra kibbles per meal can add up to a pound of weight per year.
Your veterinarian can help you decide what and how much food to feed your dog. In some cases, they even prescribe a special high fiber/low fat diet.
Reward with fun
It can be tempting to toss a treat to your pup, but this can also translate to added calories. While it’s okay to reward your dog with high quality treats, we suggest that you shift to non-food rewards especially if you have an overweight dog. Instead of some pork belly, try offering a belly rub. Or better yet, offer a round of fetch in place of some French fries.