Getting Your Dog To Lose Weight
It is not uncommon for a dog to be overweight. Today, almost half of the dogs in America are overweight. Just like humans, dogs can suffer greatly if they do not maintain a healthy weight. Being too heavy can lead to joint problems, heart disease, diabetes, respiratory problems, high blood pressure, and can aggravate existing problems or those that commonly occur as dog's age. If you are concerned about your dog’s weight and want him or her to be able to enjoy a healthier life, you can help!
Diet is a major contributor to a dog’s weight and health. Feeding your dog too much or too often can lead to more calories in a day than your dog requires. Use your dog’s age, breed, and current weight to help determine how many calories your dog should have per day. Vets can help, and you can conduct your own research to calculate a healthy amount to eat for weight loss. These resources can also help you determine a healthy weight goal to strive for. Avoid filling the bowl and leaving it out for your dog throughout the day. This can allow your dog to eat more while you aren’t monitoring his or her intake. Designated feeding times and being conscientious of portions will aid in weight loss. Be aware not only of your dog’s regular food but treats as well. Choose fresh veggies and fruits for treats, providing fewer calories and more nutrients than many store-bought treats. You can find some healthy options in our article “Human Foods that Are Good for Dogs.” Avoid feeding your dog table scraps for his or her own safety and to keep count of calories. You’ll want to keep track of calories without restricting nutrients. Make sure your dog has plenty of water since water aids in metabolic functions and can support weight loss.
While keeping track of your dog’s diet, it is also important to keep track of exercise habits. Skipping a daily walk is detrimental to your dog’s overall health and chances of losing weight. Walks support respiratory and cardiovascular health. They also improve muscle and joint function as well as neurological capabilities. Exercise helps your dog lose weight, and consistent exercise helps keep the pounds from coming back. Walks should last at least twenty minutes and should happen daily. Longer and more frequent walks can also improve your dog’s energy levels. As with humans and weight loss, consistency is key when trying to get your dog to lose weight. Skipping walks and walks that are not long enough can make weight loss more difficult and take longer to accomplish. The pounds won’t shed overnight, and even when you reach your dog’s weight loss goal it is important to stick to the new, healthier lifestyle.
Losing weight for humans can take a long time and requires a lot of support and determination. For dogs, the process is very similar. Focusing on putting good things into your dog’s body and exercising will help shed those pounds over time. If you are committed to helping your dog live a long and happy life, it is important to stay on track and know your goals. You will provide both the means for weight loss and the support your dog needs to become healthier.
Written by: Callie T.