How to Deal With an Obese Dog

How to Deal With an Obese Dog

How to Deal With an Obese Dog

Dogs are just as prone to obesity as we are. All it takes is too much dog food, and too little exercise, and in no time at all you’ll be faced with an obese dog that has the potential for a host of health concerns. The good news is that there are some steps that you can take in order to help your dog to lose weight, and to regain his or her good health.

Learning the risks

If you don’t help your canine companion slim down, he could be facing an increased risk of developing arthritis that could shorten his years of activity. In addition, diabetes and related medical concerns could fast become a reality for an obese dog. Heart disease, kidney failure, high blood pressure, and several types of cancer may also be a risk for a dog with obesity.

Consult with your veterinarian

Your veterinarian should be one of your first stops on the pathway to getting your dog healthy. Not only will your vet be able to help provide you with some good tips to help your dog lose weight, but your vet should conduct a thorough examination in order to ensure that your canine pal is healthy enough for the lifestyle changes that he’s about to embark on.

Your vet can also help to determine whether there are some underlying issues that are contributing to your dog’s weight gain. In some case it’s a thyroid concern, which is of course treatable.

Once you’ve eliminated health concerns as the cause behind your dog’s weight gain, you can start to help your dog lose weight.

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Counting calories, every calorie

How many calories a day does your dog need, based on gender, age, and activity? There are good chances that you won’t have an immediate answer for this. The reality is that some dogs simply require less food, based on a number of factors. An older neutered dog that spends most of his time indoors at your feet doesn’t need the high calorie diet that a younger energetic dog would.

Your pet’s metabolism is going to be unique to him, so be sure to get guidance from your vet about the calories from his dog food that your pup will need daily.

Measure, count, everything

How do you pour food out for your dog? Too many of us will simply fill up the bowl with dog food and leave it at that. Some dogs are allowed to graze all day, on food bowls that are always kept full. This type of free-feeding might be easier on everyone, but it is not going to do your pet any favors. Measure the amount of food you’re scooping out, and count everything that goes into his bowl.

Take it easy on the dog treats

Dogs can be very food motivated. This is great when you’re training them, but can also lead to issues if you are a bit too liberal with the treats. Many dog treats available are high in calories and high in fat. Opt for low fat dog treats for your dog, or skip them entirely if you’re getting a dog to lose weight.

Load up on the vegetables

Instead of feeding those processed commercially sold dog treats, consider vegetables that are healthy and safe to feed to your dog. Baby carrots, apple slices, bananas, and watermelon are all safe tasty treats that your dog can be offered.

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Expect some resistance, and hunger behaviors

Your obese dog has been allowed to eat what he wants, when he wants. To have this eating plan altered will definitely be responsible for a fair bit of resistance. You may find that he doesn’t want to eat lower calorie dog foods, or that he avoids eating vegetables in his bowl. Stick with it. Your dog won’t starve himself. He may act out and start to beg at the table more often, but he will eat his food when he gets hungry.

Get those paws moving

One of the best things that we can do for our dogs, and for ourselves, is to engage in at least 20 minutes of walking each day. Lace up those sneakers, and walk your dog, or spend more time with him playing in the back yard.

Supplements may help

A quick chat with your vet can help you to determine whether your dog can benefit from a daily vitamin for dogs. Certain fish oils can help to ease joint pain, which of course will help to encourage your dog to keep moving more.

Wrapping up

It’s our responsibility to keep our dogs in tip-top shape. They offer us so much unconditional love and affection, it’s almost the least that we can do to keep them healthy and active for many good years. Offer only healthy dog treats, ensure they’re eating the right amount of dog food their body and activity level, and of course walk your dog.