Showering your dogs with love by means of big meals and lots of tasty treats is sweet, but misguided. In dogs, as with you humans, overeating and extra weight can lead to serious health problems.
Obesity develops when energy intake exceeds energy requirements. This excess energy is then stored as fat. The majority of obesity cases are caused by simple overfeeding coupled with lack of exercise. Specific breeds, such as Labrador retrievers and pugs, are particularly prone to obesity, as are senior dogs of all breeds.
The overweight dog, with many added stresses upon his body, is now at an increased risk of diabetes, liver problems and joint pain.
How to Tell if Your Pet is Overweight
With and animal of healthy weight, you should be able to feel the backbone and touch the ribs. If you cannot feel your pet’s ribs without pressing, there is too much fat. When looking at your pet from above, you should see a noticeable waist between the back of the rib cage and the hips. When viewed from the side, there should be a “tuck” in the tummy, meaning the abdomen should go up from the bottom of the rib cage to inside the thighs. Dogs who fail these simple tests may be overweight.
How to Help Manage Your Dog’s Weight
Here are a few tips that can help your pet shed the extra padding. Be sure to consult with your vet before beginning any weight loss program. Correct your pet’s diet. Overweight animals consume more calories then they require. Work with your vet to determine your pet’s caloric requirements, and to select more suitable foods. The diet should contain a normal level of moderately fermentable fiber and fat to prevent the skin and coat from suffering during weight loss. Increase regular physical activity. This can be valuable to both weight loss and weight maintenance. Regular exercise burns more calories, reduce appetite and changes body compostiotion and will increase your pet’s resting metabolic rate.
A successful weight management program includes changing those factors that have contributed to your pet’s weight gain. For example, you may be giving your pet too many treats or not enough opportunities to exercise.
Commit to Your Pet’s Weight Loss
*Remove your pet from the room when the family eats *Feed them several small meals throughout the day. *Reduce snacks and treats, and feed all meals and treats only in their food bowl. *In everything you do together, include generous amounts of affection.