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Does your dog need to be on a doggie diet regimen? Unfortunately not only has our human society become obese but so has some of our pet population. The extra pounds on a dog can cause serious health issues for your precious pet and will likely shorten their life span.
According to Banfield’s 2017 State of Our Pets Health obesity in dogs is the second most common condition in dogs. The recent study goes on to say that 1 in every 3 dogs are overweight.
Here are the most common breeds predisposed to obesity:
Just like their human counterparts, dogs that are overweight have trouble breathing and have trouble chasing their favorite toy. They also are hindered by canine arthritis because of the pain the extra weight causes on their joints. They often suffer with regular infections and can be excluded from surgery eligibility because of their weight and the health complications that come with it.
I think the most important reason to be concerned for your dog’s weight issue should be that you could be losing precious time with your beloved dog. It’s no secret that obesity shortens your life span and that means that you are going to lose a lot of special moments of special walks, talks, snuggles and kisses with your dog that you could prevent just by correcting their diet and helping them exercise.
Common sense will mostly tell you why your dog should be on a doggie diet. The same things that causes us to gain weight will also cause your dog to gain weight. Chances are your dog has become somewhat sedentary and is not getting nearly enough exercise. This can happen when a household routine changes or perhaps when another pet in the household passes away and leaves them without a playmate.
Which leads to the next cause of your dog being overweight and that’s simply eating too much dog food. Sometimes they will eat because they are bored or maybe there’s a new puppy in the house and they don’t want to share. Something else to consider, if you are free feeding where you leave food out full time, you may have to make a change and start feeding them just once or twice a day to control their intake.
Finally, be sure not to feed regular old leftovers like greasy table scraps. There are plenty of healthy fresh human foods that you dog can and will eat that are good for them.
The first thing you should determine is if your dog needs to be on a doggie diet. You will want to check to see if you can feel your dog’s waist, rib bones and tail bones. If you are having difficulty feeling these then it’s likely your dog needs to lose a few pounds. Remember, it’s always a good idea to take your dog to your local vet for a checkup before making any change to their diet.
A vet can also make recommendations on what type of food to feed and how much. You will also want to set a weight goal that is appropriate. When you are choosing a diet dog food, there are tons of options on the market.
Choose one based on the vets recommendations and one that is completely balanced in protein, fat and carbohydrates. Dog’s do not need very much fiber when they are dieting and it can cause diarrhea.
Next, you need to look for a dog food that is low in calories. That way you can still feed a normal portion instead of limiting their food intake. It will help your dog feel fuller and keep him from begging or stealing your other pet’s food.
As with any doggie diet change, gradually change their diet over by adding a little bit more of the new diet food to their regular food everyday until you are eventually feeding all diet food. This will help the transition and help with any digestion issues. Be sure that your dog has plenty of fresh water each and everyday.
If your vet recommends that you switch your dog to a low-fat diet that is completely balanced and low in calories, any of these four low-fat dog foods are considered among the best as a new pet food.
I know, you don’t want to exercise yourself, why would you want to help the dog exercise. Well, think of it this way, you know if you grab that leash to go for a walk, your dog is going to be super happy and excited to go, right? Imagine how happy you will make them.
I’m sure that you have a ton of things that you have to get done today but are any of them nearly as important or as fun as helping your dog live longer and your getting to play with your dog for an hour? Imagine what that would do for your stress level, not to mention your own figure! I know an hour with my dog is like heaven compared to an hour of chores in the house.
You could come back from that hour completely re-energized and ready to go. After a few weeks, both you and the dog will be in better shape and your bond will be even closer. Which means you will be even more thankful when your dog starts dropping pounds and their life expectancy becomes much longer. How about the added benefit of your weight loss and health benefits? It’s a win win situation!
Once your dog has successfully finished their doggie diet and reached their goal weight, it’s important to not just return to your old ways of feeding and lack of exercise. Keep up with the exercise. If you want to cut back to a few days a week and that’s keeping your dog at a healthy weight, then that is completely fine.
If you were free feeding before the doggie diet and you stopped during the diet. Don’t go back to free feeding. Continue to regulate your dog’s food intake. You can gradually re-introduce a regular healthy dog food and see how they get along weight wise. You should definitely purchase some type of measuring cup or scoop that has measurements on it so that you can be sure to give them the correct portion each sitting.
If your dog begins to gain weight again, then you should try increasing their exercise again and consider re-introducing some of the doggie diet again. You can try mixing half and half on their dog food. That’s half diet dog food and half regular dog food. Just remember to gradually introduce it.
The bottom line is that an overweight dog is going to have a shortened life span and their quality of life is certainly going to be diminished. We all get caught up in our busy lives but I’m sure when you and your family decided to get a dog, having an overweight dog was not what you had in mind. So do yourself and your dog a favor and start that a doggie diet today.