How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

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Published: 25th October 2012
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Dogs can easily become overweight, especially since we are sometimes too busy to really spend time ensuring they have an active lifestyle. While we’re at work, they hang out around the home because they don’t have much else to do. Combined with once-a-day feeding habits, it is very easy for our dogs to become a little chubby.

Of course, a dog’s health is essential to their happiness, and although they love it when you feed them a little extra, that doesn’t mean that it’s good for them. So, it is up to dog owners to help their dogs lose a little weight so that they can get back to being healthy and happy.

Realizing your dog’s present condition

Are they obese? Maybe they’re just a little pudgy on the sides. But identifying your dog’s condition will give you a good idea of where you need to start. The most convenient test is to run your hands along your dog’s rib-cage. If you can’t easily feel their ribs, then they’re obese (take into consideration fur thickness). Next you must consider what a healthy weight is for your dog. Their body type, size, and breed must all be included as factors. You don’t want to set a goal that your dog can’t healthily achieve. If you are going by weight, you should check your dog’s weight against a respectable source. The Association of Pet Obesity Prevention provides a good reference in their site:

To get your dog’s weight, it is easiest to simply use a bathroom scale. If you know your weight, all you have to do is pick up your dog and subtract the difference. Then compare it to a chart and start planning your dog’s fitness goals.

Plenty of exercise

Regardless of your rush to get your dog healthy, you need to start slow. Despite your good intentions, rushing an overweight or unhealthy dog into a rigorous exercise plan could do more harm than good. Realize that overweight dogs who are not accustomed to frequent activity normally have higher blood pressure and are susceptible to injury if they become radically active too fast.

The best place to start is to take them for regular walks. Regular activity is important to a dog’s health for many reasons besides simply working off the extra weight. It also helps their digestive tract function properly. Walking helps move their bowels and eliminate waste properly so that it doesn’t accumulate in their body. As their body begins to function properly again, they’ll begin to lose weight and become healthier.

Healthy Diet

While exercise is important, what and how you feed your dog will make a world of a difference to their weight. Choose a dog food that is formulated for weight control and avoid puppy formulated foods for less active dogs. These have an abundance of additional carbs and proteins that growing dogs need.

Part of a healthy diet includes feeding them on a regular schedule. Several small meals throughout the day will help regulate their body functions better. It will also provide energy when they need it most, such as in the mornings before exercise or playtime in the afternoon.

As far as proper feeding time is concerned, don’t feed your dog right before bedtime. In addition to being a potty risk, it also means that the food they’ve just eaten will simply be stored as extra fat later on. Also refrain from feeding them just one big meal a day. This often results in a low metabolism and lower insulin secretion, resulting in a higher body weight and a higher risk for diabetes. When feeding, use a measuring cup to keep serving amounts at a steady and reliable quantity. Making guesswork of your dog’s servings can end up countering your entire health plan goal.

A treat?

Treats are often a pet owner’s biggest weakness. Dogs love a treat, and we love to see that tail wag. But treats are not always good for them or their weight. What types of treats are you giving them? How many and how frequently? You don’t have to cut out all treats, you just have to make sure they get them at the right times. Make them earn their treats. It also helps to choose healthy or all-natural treats. Also keep in mind that the best treat of all is your attention. Table scraps are not treats.

Monitor your dog’s weight and physical changes each week. They may not drop their extra bulk quickly, but the idea is to do it safely and in a healthy manner. Regular exercise and proper diet are crucial to a dog’s health. As your dog’s owner, you are responsible for their well-being, and with the proper technique, you can provide your faithful companion with a happy, healthier lifestyle that both of you can enjoy.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember. After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again. Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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