Dogs are one of life’s most endearing joys that can bring happiness to their human families. It’s every dog owner’s duty to repay this love with the best care possible.
Managing your dog’s weight is one of the most critical responsibilities for owners. Too many treats mixed with little exercise can quickly add up to a weight issue for your dog.
Just like their human counterparts, dogs can develop serious health issues when they are overweight. Not only can obesity cause heart issues, but it can diminish their quality of life as well. In the U.S., it is estimated that over 30% of family dogs are overweight.
Senior dogs are especially vulnerable to weight gains as their activity levels start to lessen. With regular vet checks, proper low-calorie dog food, and lots of exercises, it’s easy to help your dog manage its weight. Let’s take a look at a few tips that can help you keep your dog happy and healthy.
Dogs don’t feed themselves, so if they are overeating, it’s likely the fault of their owner. Dogs don’t have a natural ability to cut themselves off when they have overeaten; their impulses take over, and they will eat as much as you give them. Talk to your vet about the right portion size for your dog’s size and breed independently, and make sure they stick to that diet.
If your dog is really packing on the pounds, you can start by reducing the feeding portions by 25%. If you are worried about your dog being hungry in between meals, you can switch up your feeding routine. Instead of two meals a day, try breaking down those meals into several feedings with smaller portions.
Human owners tend to believe that if their dog is willing to eat, that means that they are truly hungry. In fact, dogs will often eat any time that they are offered food. This belief often leads to pets being overfed. Keeping with multiple scheduled feeding times will keep dogs fed properly without ever leaving them feeling hungry.
It’s important to make feeding changes gradually to allow your dog to adapt to the new normal. Going cold turkey with reduced meals or a change in dog food can be confusing and upsetting for your dog. Gradually reduce portion sizes to help your dog get used to their new routine.
We all love to spoil our dogs and show them how much we love them. This often translates to giving your dog too many high-fat treats. Although your dog probably loves their treats or bones, it’s important to remember that these treats are not always good for their weight management.
Many dog treats are made up of high-fat and sugar content. If you are trying to help your dog manage their weight, it’s important to pay attention to the ingredients of the treats you are feeding them. Naturally sourced treats with low-fat content can be safely given to dogs without the risk of weight gain. If you are using treats as part of your training, it’s important to start weaning them off their motivational snacks as they learn proper behavior. Affection and affirmation are much healthier for your dog than high-fat treats.
Your dog needs a lot of exercises to help manage its weight. Small bursts of energy in the form of playtime and walks are one of the best ways to manage your dog’s weight. Try increasing your walks’ frequency, make an extra visit to the dog park, or plan a playdate with your pooch’s favorite friends.
Senior dogs can be tough to motivate. Long walks and energetic play sessions can be painful and tiring for older dogs. Try shorter walks with more frequency to help keep them active. You may also want to invest in some interactive toys like an automatic ball thrower that your senior dogs can play with on their own.
The great thing about having a dog is that it helps manage your weight as well. Regular walking is an invigorating way to get out in the fresh air and get some exercise for you both. Walks are also a good opportunity to train your dog on its leash.
The healthy bacteria that make up many probiotics can help your dog to properly digest its food. Probiotic enriched foods help your dog’s intestinal and digestive systems to work more efficiently. Food that is properly broken down can help to increase your dog’s energy levels, strengthen their immune systems and reduce digestive issues that can cause them discomfort.
Dog fountains have gained popularity with pet owners, as they are a great way to keep your dog hydrated. Dogs are fascinated by the running water of a fountain and are more likely to play and drink than with a plain water bowl.
Keeping your dog hydrated is an important part of managing their weight. Water helps to break down their food more efficiently, keeps their energy levels up during their increased walking schedule, and helps keep their appetite in check.
Regular walks and increased play sessions will help your dog to manage its weight and sleep better too. Excess energy and calories that are not burned off during the day can result in sleepless nights and weight gain.
If your dog seems to be putting on too much weight, your first move should be a visit to your veterinarian. It’s essential to determine whether your dog’s weight gain is due to a feeding issue or an underlying health issue. Talk to your vet about getting your dog on the right food or how to deal with any medical problems that may be causing them to gain weight.
Dog owners are invested in creating a healthy home for their furry best friends. With the right low-calorie diet, support from your vet, and lots of attention and activity, you can help your dog stay fit and happy.