The Overweight Dog
Our solutions for assisting your chubby canine to lose excessive weight!
So you think your dog is fat or obese?
First you need to know what a healthy dog looks like so you know when your dog has achieved a healthy weight.
Is your Dog in the IDEAL SHAPE?
Dogs should have a definite waist line and when viewed from side on, the abdominal area should be noticeably narrower than the chest. Run your hands lightly over your dog’s back and ribcage- you should be able to feel the backbone and ribs without pressing hard. If you CANNOT, it’s time to get your dog into shape. Left unchecked, overweight dogs can suffer a raft of problems such as heart disease, diabetes and osteoporosis, all of which reduce life expectancy and quality of life.
Check out the WARNING Signs:
What do you do if your dog is showing any of the above warning signs?
Losing weight is not easy for dogs and requires dedicated owners determined to succeed. Weight loss means DIET and EXERCISE. Your dog is never going to willingly reduce its food intake or increase its exercise without human intervention so this is tough love time. The whole family need to get on board so talk to your children and any visitor who are likely to slip the dog a little extra!
Quality low kilojoule food, both wet and dry or in the form of a treat, are readily available. You need to invest in premium foods. Assess what your dog is currently eating, look at the quantity you normally dish up and then weigh it and calculate the energy. Also, check how much fat is in your dog’s diet. Don’t forget the TREATS you feed your dog, including bones and table scraps. Set a reasonable diet regime, reducing kilojoule intake by 20-25% will produce steady, moderate weight loss without starving your dog. Check with your vet if your dog’s obesity warrants a more rapid or slower weight loss program. If your dog is clearly struggling with the reduced intake, consider feeding it smaller meals more often.
Dogs need exercise to increase metabolism but fat dogs will be reluctant to do as much exercise as they need. Start slowly. Take your dog for daily walks as far as the dog is willing to go. Increase the distance each week. Think about swimming in warmer weather if your dog likes the beach. Take into account the exercise requirements of the dog’s breed/size and age. If you can’t do all the exercise yourself, consider getting help from a dog walker, family member or friend. And don’t forget play time! Lots of exercise happens with games of fetch and the like. A few quality toys can greatly improve your dog’s willingness to move.
Finally, give your dog lots of praise and as much company as you can!
Happy dogs will be more willing to accept a reduced kilojoule diet and increased exercise more readily than dogs starved of time and attention. If you regularly give food rewards, think about big cuddles to replace most of those treats. Your trimmer, fitter dog will reward you with a longer, more fulfilled life.