Numerous studies have shown that more people in the world are obese today than ever before and, interestingly, we’re not the only ones. Not only is the general population chonkier than ever, but so are our dogs, and the phenomenon can have serious ramificationsfor both groups. Obese dogs run a lot of the same risks that obese people do. When a dog is overweight, it is at a higher risk of having heart diseases, respiratory ailments, weak joints and other problems.
In short, it is every bit as dangerous for a dog to be carrying extra weight as it is for a person – perhaps even more so due to the shorter lifespan that dogs have. An overweight eight-year-old dog is akin to an overweight fifty-six-year-old man and subject to many of the same health risks.
Fortunately for us and our dogs, the equation is associative and works the same in the opposite direction. Just as a healthy diet and plenty of good cardiovascular exercise can trimdown a chubby man; these are also effective ways to take the extra weight off of a dog too.
To reduce the body weight of an overweight or obese dog, a program of diet and regular exercise should be introduced. Some ways of reducing your pet’s food intake include measuring out its meals with a measuring cup to ensure that you are not overfeeding. Treats are great for rewarding and training, but take note to go for ones with lower calories and limit these between-meal snacks.
With that said, it is important to visit a veterinarian as the doctor can determine whether the dog’s obesity is simply due to high caloric intake or some other more serious medical concerns like diabetes. The vet can also give you the best suggestions about diet and exercise.
When it comes to picking the right dog food, there are many brands of dog food on the market that are specially balanced to help a dog lose weight. Such formulas are typically low in fat and carbohydrates but high in protein. Some also include superfoods and nutrients to boost metabolism!
In spite of whichever food or dietary supplements you are using, there is no substitute for thesupport and commitment of the family. Each member must agree to help control the dog’s caloric intake, feed exact amounts at exact times and limit the intake of snacks. Feeding yourdog extra treats or table scraps on the sly each time they flash you their puppy-dog eyes will not be doing your pooch any favours.
Doggie Exercise Programs:
Exercise is important for any dog. A dog that does not get enough exercise quickly gains weight and may become extremely keyed up or very lethargic. Fortunately, most dogs love to exercise by nature. They love to run and play with their humans. An overweight dog may be reluctant to exercise at first, but if you persist in taking him for walks or playing games like“fetch” (most dogs love to run after a thrown tennis ball or other objects), the pup will soon come around and start exercising more frequently and for longer periods of time.
Allocate at least 15-20 minutes of exercise each day for your dog to get their heart rates upand help them shed off the excess weight. For obese dogs that are elderly or that have joint problems, swimming would be a better alternative.
It Takes Time:
Just as how people don’t reach their ideal weight overnight, neither will a dog. Remember that Rover didn’t put on those extra pounds all at once, and they won’t come off that way either. Most dogs take between ten and twelve months to reach their ideal weight goal, depending on how much extra weight needs to be lost. But as long as you help them stick totheir routine of regular exercise and mealtimes (with no excess treats in between!), the extra weight will come off, and your dog will be back at a healthy number on the weighing scale once again.