According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 56 percent of dogs in the United States are overweight. Like humans, dogs can struggle with weight problems and the associated health issues. However, unlike their human counterparts, dogs cannot take control of their weight problems. They depend on their owners to give them a proper diet and regular exercise. Your intentions are good, but sometimes you just can't say no to those big brown eyes pleading for one more treat or a plateful of leftovers.
When Is a Dog Considered Overweight?
One of the biggest obstacles to canine weight control is denial. Often dog owners can't see or won't admit that their furry friend is obese. What others readily see may go overlooked by an owner who is used to the gradual weight gain. But there's an easy way to tell if your dog is overweight. You should be able to feel your pup's ribs when you gently run your hands along their ribcage. If you need to press to feel the ribs, your dog is carrying too much wait. From above, your pup should have an hourglass shape.
Why Is Canine Obesity So Harmful?
A few extra pounds may seem harmless, but those pounds can lead to heart disease, hypertension, and diabetes, which can shorten your dog's life. Those excess pounds can also be hard on your furry friend's knee and hip joints and lead to painful osteoarthritis. Obese dogs have diminished quality of life. They may find it difficult to run, play, climb stairs, and jump on furniture. They often lead a sedentary life, which further exacerbates the weight problem.
How Can You Reduce Your Dog's Weight Problem?
The biggest culprit for obesity is eating too much food. Before you start a weight loss program, take your furry friend to your veterinarian to rule out a medical cause the weight gain. While there, ask the doctor to outline an appropriate diet plan that will help your pup gradually shed the pounds. They can also recommend a high-quality weight-loss formulated dog food.
Also, avoid high-calorie packaged treats. Instead, try sweet potato or banana chunks, green beans, or baby carrots. Small training treats given sparingly are also OK. Stay away from table scraps as they are often high in calories.
Add daily walks to your pup's daily routine. Start slowly with a walk around the block. Gradually increase the distance as the pounds come off. Before you realize it, your little friend will be svelte, fit, and enjoying life again.
Contact a local vet to get more dog care tips.
Whether you have had a pet cat for years or you just bought a new fish tank filled with fish for your children, you likely enjoy learning more about your favorite animals and how you can help keep them in good health. We created this website to help pet owners like you learn more about their beloved pets healthcare needs. We plan to post the answers to many of your pet health-related questions on this website, such as how to choose the right food for your fish, how to encourage your indoor cat to exercise when they need to lose a pound or two, and how to know when your dog's strange behavior may signal an illness. If you cannot find the answers to your pet health questions here, we hope you can use our resources to find the answers elsewhere.