Just like humans, dogs can quickly become overweight through a lack of exercise, poor diet, or even an underlying health condition. Weight gain in dogs can lead to a huge range of potential health issues, and could even be putting your four-legged friend’s life at risk. However, even though many dog owners understand the risks of allowing their pet to gain weight, today dogs are getting fatter than ever.
According to veterinarians, the number of obese or overweight dogs in the U.S. alone stands at around 45%, which equates to around 35 million dogs.
If your dog has been piling on the pounds, then it’s important to be aware that this could lead to several risks of various health conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, lung disorders, cancer, immune system dysfunction, arthritis, and more. And, recent studies show that dogs who are at a healthy weight tend to live for around two years longer on average than those who are overweight. So, what can you do to help your canine friend lose the extra flab and maintain a healthy weight for good? We’ve put together some top tips.
Tip #1. Exercise More:
Just like humans, dogs who get more exercise are more likely to be fit, and will find it more difficult to put on extra weight. Exercising your dog more often, even if that simply means starting off by walking them for an extra ten minutes per day, can help you to make significant changes in your pet’s health and weight. If you are struggling to find the time to give your dog the extra exercise that they desperately need to help them to return back to a healthy weight, then you might want to consider one of several different dog toy options available, that they can play with on their own to their heart’s content to get more exercise per day. For example, Fast Dogs dug into the iFetch dog ball launcher, which automatically launches tennis balls for your furry friend to catch.
Tip #2. Cut Down Snacks:
All dog owners are probably guilty of feeding their dog some of the food from their plate from time to time, or giving them extra snacks and treats throughout the day. However, allowing your dog to eat too much in the way of snacks and extras along with their main meals can quickly add up, leading to a higher risk of your pet gaining weight or even becoming obese.
When it comes to helping your dog to lose some of the extra pounds that they have gained, it’s important to make sure that you are strict and disciplined when it comes to feeding them snacks, no matter how sad their big puppy-dog eyes are! Remember that, most of the time, dogs are simply excited to see food on the table, so if they’re begging you for food, they are not always going to be hungry – especially if you know that you are feeding them enough.
Tip #3. Have Controlled Feeding Times:
Many dogs are fed in such a way that they have access to food all throughout the day, so that their dog can eat whenever they want. However, this method of feeding is unnatural for all mammals, including both dogs and humans. Just like you would eat when you were bored if you had twenty-four-hour access to food, your dog will do the exact same thing, which can easily lead to him putting on a lot of weight. Instead, it’s a much better idea to feed your dog controlled portions throughout the day, such as giving them a bowl full of food at each mealtime with your family.
If you work and need to leave your dog alone during the day and over lunchtime, you might want to consider an automatic dog feeding bowl, that you can set to dispense a certain amount of food for your pet at a specified time. Ideally, your dog should be fed two to four small portions of food per day. If your dog is the kind to quickly devour all their food at once, leaving them with nothing to eat until their next meal, then you might want to consider spreading their daily food allowance over a larger number of small portions. It’s a good idea to speak to your veterinarian beforehand to get the best idea of which is the best option for your dog.
Tip #4. Always Measure Food:
Whilst you can be doing everything necessary to help your dog lose weight such as controlling their food portions, encouraging them to take more exercise and limiting the amount of snacks and treats that you give them, simple mistakes can mess with your efforts and hinder your dog’s weight loss results. For example, when you are feeding your dog a set portion of food at each meal time, then guessing, rather than measuring the amount out, could mean that you’re feeding your dog more than they need without even realizing it. It’s always best to make sure that you have an accurate scoop or scales to measure your dog’s meals on, to ensure that they are getting the perfect amount.
Tip #5. Choose Foods Carefully:
When it comes to choosing foods for your dog, you’re probably already aware that there are several options available to you. However, it’s important to be careful if you are considering purchasing a dog food that is specifically designed to encourage weight loss. This is because many of the recipes used to make these types of foods offer reduced calories, but will replace meat content with high levels of carbohydrates, to help your dog feel fuller. However, this often only works for a short time and can even lead to your dog feeling hungrier in the long-term. For the best results, always choose a highly nutritious brand of dog food that contains a wide range of the essential ingredients for optimal health. Speak to your veterinarian if you are unsure of which one to choose.
Did these tips help? We’d love to hear from you in the comments.