How to Help a Dog Lose Weight for Better Health
A chubby dog is a common sight in many American households. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates that in the United States roughly 42 million dogs are overweight or obese, according to a 2015 study. For some people, an overweight dog may even seem cute; however, excess weight is a serious problem that has very real consequences. Dogs with weight problems are at risk of developing serious and expensive health issues that can shorten their life. These issues include high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis. For that reason, people need to learn how to help a dog lose weight in a safe and effective way.
Confirm the Need for Weight Loss
Before starting your dog on a weight loss plan, confirm that it needs to lose weight and how much. When a dog is at a healthy weight it should be easy to feel its ribs through a thin layer of body fat. Additionally, a dog’s abdomen should not be wider than its chest. Although you may visually assess your pets need to lose a few pounds or more, you should visit a veterinarian. A vet can confirm whether or not your dog is overweight or obese and take an accurate weight measurement. Generally, your dog is considered overweight if it weighs 15 to 20 percent over what is normal for its breed. Your veterinarian can also provide you with appropriate portions for your dog’s size and weight loss goals and provide you with other useful tips on how to help a dog lose weight.
Control Portions and Feed Times
Overeating is one of the main reasons why dogs begin to pack on the extra pounds. Controlling portion sizes is a simple way to get a dog to lose weight. To do that you’ll first want to limit your pet’s access to food. Although it is convenient to set a bowl of kibble out for your dog to eat at its leisure, it is one of the worst things that you can do if you are trying to help your dog lose weight, as calories can quickly add up. Feed your dog twice a day and use a measuring cup to scoop out exact portions as recommended by your veterinarian.
One of the topics that your veterinarian will likely discuss is the type of dog food that you should buy. Most vets have a particular brand and type of food that they recommend to people who want to make a dog lose weight. If you plan to purchase pet food without the recommendation of your veterinarian, use caution when selecting diet or weight-loss formulas. Often, these types of food are low in fat but high in the carbohydrates that can be detrimental to your weight-loss goals.
Exercise is crucial when you are trying to help your dog lose weight. Not only does it burn off calories, but it also strengthens muscles, improves stamina, and can help reduce certain medical risks. When it comes to exercise, jogging, running, or walking are some of the more popular options. Walking for weight loss, however, should be vigorously and somewhat of a challenge. Playing catch or throwing Frisbees with your dog is another fun way to get a dog to lose weight. Whatever method of brisk exercise you choose, do it daily for at least 30 minutes.
Stop Indulging Your Pet
If your dog still isn’t losing weight despite eating meals properly and regular exercise, you’re likely wondering what more can be done. To make a dog lose weight you’ll also need to eliminate the extra treats that your dog receives as a result of begging or as rewards. Dogs are notorious beggars and can be difficult to resist. Refrain from sharing your food with your pet as even small amounts of human food can be tremendously high in calories, fat, and carbohydrates. The calories in pet treats can also add up fast. When rewarding a pet, treat them with a toy, playtime, or even simple praise instead of food.
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