Obesity- a human born disease that is slowly spreading to man’s best friend. Though some breeds are naturally prone to obesity, we can’t deny that human intervention has brought on an illness that can shorten your canine’s life by years! So, how do you know when your dog’s weight should be of any concern?
If you doubt that your dog is overweight, run your hand down their spine and check if you can feel their frame. Run your hand down their side and check if you can feel their rib cage. If you can’t feel their spine or rib cage it means your dog needs to hit the treadmill. Never take weight issues lightly when it comes to your pooch. Obesity puts a direct strain on their heart and therefore it is important to detect it as early as possible and make a healthy transition.
Here are some things you must keep in mind while you bring your pooch to shape:
In some cases, allergic reactions can lead to a sudden weight gain. Nevertheless, consulting your vet for diet and lifestyle changes is very important. They can formulise a diet plan and workout routine based on your dog’s age and physical condition.
You may be advised to switch to a special weight loss formula or may be asked to reduce the amount you feed your dog every day. Remember, the amount of intake is always calculated on the bases of their energy level. For an obese dog, their daily diet should provide them 50% of their daily calories. Make sure to reduce their food gradually till you have reduced to 50% of the current amount. Reduction depends from dog to dog. For instance, an overweight dog may not need a 50% decrease on their current diet. Also, an energetic obese dog will need calories to supplement the energy they burn daily. So, make sure to observe your dog individually and reduce their daily intake after consulting a vet.
When you reduce their portion sizes, you also reduce vitamins and minerals that they obtain naturally through their meals. Therefore, it is important to provide them with supplements like omega 3 and 6 fatty acids, calcium and other essential vitamins and minerals. Do consult your vet before supplementing their diet as many weight loss formulas already contain an extra amount of vitamins and minerals to compensate for the lesser intake.
So, this is a difficult one. We know that most dogs become obese because of high calorie treats and table scraps. Overindulgence costs them heavily, which is why you have to put your foot down when it comes to treats. This means saying no to begging (no matter how cute that face looks). The good news is, you don’t have to completely omit treats, rather go for healthier varieties and control their portion. Treats like unsalted, unflavoured popcorn are excellent treat options. Apples and carrots are also safe as they are fibrous and low in calorie. Remember, treats should not exceed 10% of their daily diet so make sure they are reserved for when they are exceptionally good dogs!
When it comes to shedding those extra kilos, diet and exercise work hand in hand. But remember, too much exercise, for a dog that is used to laying around, will do him more harm than good. Make sure to start slow and gradually increase intensity and duration. For older dogs, you can start with a 20 minute walk and slowly increase it. Avoid extreme climates and walk them when the temperature is moderate outside. As for younger dogs, try to get them interested in toys and stimulate them with indoor fetch. You can start within a room and allow them to walk.
Weigh them regularly and keep tabs on any weight changes. Once they have reached their weight goals you can gradually increase their meals or switch back to their regular diet. Keep tabs on their weight and continue with healthy treat choices and regular exercise. All the best!