Dog health – Just like us humans, too much food and too little exercise can make your dog obese. Dog obesity is a dangerous and growing trend, and as a responsible dog owner, you need to be mindful of the weight of your dog and take the necessary measures to reduce your dog’s weight by using automatic pet feeder if they start tipping the scales.
Dog obesity is a serious problem because it can lead to:
– A torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL)
– Heart-Related Diseases,
– A Shorter Life Span
How To Know if Your Dog Is Overweight
You might not realise your dog has a weight issue until he’s struggling to make it to the end of his usual walk, or you’re at the dog clippers and you catch sight of his bulging tum, but once you realise you have a problem, it’s important to take action straight away.
It’s also important however to be certain that your dog’s ailing health is due to excess weight and not something else. So before putting your dog on a diet, make sure you get them checked out by a vet. Your vet will also be able to give you tailored advice and guidance on which diet plan is the best way forward.
Here are some ways to tell if your dog is obese:
- Check His Ribs
Dog Health – A dog with a healthy weight has visible ribs that can be felt when pressed, with just a thin coverage of fat over them. (If the ribs are showing too much it can a sign that your dog is underweight).
An obese dog has no visible waist or abdomen tuck and you will need to press down hard to feel their ribs.
- Difficulty Taking Care of Themself
Dogs love licking and scratching their bodies, they are constantly grooming themselves. If your dog is having difficulty in doing so and this has nothing to do with muscle or joint issues, then they need to start exercising.
Overweight dogs have issues with constipation, and other problems that come with indigestion. Paying attention to your dog and its bowels can give you vital clues to their overall health.
- Lack of Energy
Dogs are naturally energetic and athletic animals. They enjoy running and being active. If your dog is always on the couch and can’t get up without an effort, then a trip to the vets is in order, and an exercise plan most likely needs to be drawn up.
Dog Health – Dietary Steps to Ensure Your Dog Loses Weight
Just like two-legged animals, diet is a huge factor to both losing and adding weight in a dog. At its most basic, the way to reduce weight in an obese dog, is to reduce their calorie intake whilst increasing their physical activities.
- Check With a Veterinarian First
Changing or switching the diet of your dog should only be done under the guidance of a veterinarian. Let your dog’s doctor give you a healthy eating diet plan, which is very likely to be one of the following:
- A Metabolic Diet – meals that increase the metabolism of your dog and help it burn calories fast.
- A High Fibre Diet – meals high in fibre that expand the stomach of your dog and give him the illusion of being full whilst keeping calorie intake low.
- Reduce His Meal Portion
Dog Health – Determine how much food your dog eats in a day, and reduce it. Reduce his portion by 10 or 15% depending on how overweight your dog is. Weigh him after two weeks and if there is no sign of reduction, reduce his portion by another 10%.
Your dog will pester you for more food and beg you while you’re eating yours but do not bulge. Instead of indulging, take him on a walk or pet him to help him quell his desire for food and reward his hard work.
- Reduce Treats
Most people would be shocked if they knew the real number of calories in just a single treat. If you’re reducing his food ration but consistently giving him treats then you will likely get little or no results.
Instead of giving treats that are unhealthy, offer healthy ones like banana and apple (in bits) or rice cakes.
Like human beings, exercise and diets go hand in hand in helping your dog lose weight. If you want to see noticeable results in a dog’s body mass then make him exercise more.
If this is difficult because the fat in the dog’s body is making it difficult for him to move around, then you will need to create ways to make him more physically active.
For instance, you could offer healthy treats after a nice game of fetch and make him work for his food. Activity feeders also make your dog work for his food. Little things can make a big difference if your dog is really out of shape.
- Weigh Your Dog Often
You need to weigh your dog every fortnight or week to track progress, or lack of it.
Be realistic and stick to the diet and exercise plans, and do not expect instant results. Typically, obese dogs will lose 1 to 2% of their body fat every week, if the weight loss procedures are being done right. The major factors in a successful weight loss journey for your dog, are consistency, and love.
If however the new regime is not having the desired results, then change the regime and be consistent. You can also re-visit your vet for advice.
Finally, dogs have no idea that their weight gain is harmful to their health, so it’s down to you as their owner to help them get back to full health, and enjoying their life to the full again.