Obesity is one of the most common and is the number one health problem of pets. We often spoil our pets and we would often over feed them. What is worse is that we may be feeding them with those high calorie foods which could cause obesity. There are also drugs as well as diseases such as hypothyroidism that would cause them to be obese but the most common reason for pets being obese is over feeding them.
We should take care of our pets so that they would live a healthy life. Proper diet and regular exercise are both essential to get your pet fit and at the prime of his health. Several individuals care much for their pets and as pet owners we should take care of them just like how we treat our family members.
How To Determine Whether Your Pet Is Overweight?
Check on what your pet has been eating lately if you think your pet is overweight. But how can we determine if our respective pets are overweight or obese?
- You could not feel your pet’s ribs. Touch your pet’s ribs using your bare hands; check if there is too much fat and skin that would cover much of your pet’s ribs. You could basically feel their ribs if they are physically fit. Check specifically the waist area of your pet. If you wouldn’t be able to feel the pet’s ribs, it would basically mean that you should find ways to lose the unwanted pounds and fats of your pet.
- Your pet wouldn’t be interested in exercising and other physical activities. If your pet is weak and doesn’t seem to be interested in playing or doing other physical activities, it would only mean that your pet is overweight. Take your pet for a walk from time to time to avoid obesity. Engage your pet in some interesting games that could provide it with exercise.
- Your pet would be constantly begging for food and treats. Obese and overweight pets would be constantly asking and begging you for food and treats even after their regular feeding time. Their appetite would increase and you might wonder why you have spent so much money on your pet’s food. Minimize your pet’s food when such symptoms occur. It would endanger your pet’s health if you continue to do such things.
- Your pet would lose its figure. Compare your pet with other healthy pets and compare their body figures. Some overweight and obese pets would eventually lose their natural figure and stance; even dogs like St. Bernard dogs have their own specific body-built and natural figures. If your pet has lost its own figure, consult your vet about your pet’s obesity.
- Your pet would easily be affected by the sun’s heat compared to other animals. Aside from being slow in moving their fatty bodies around, the heat of the sun would eventually wear them down. They would easily get exhausted when they would feel the sun’s heat as compared to other animals. Those overweight animals have the condition of heat intolerance. This puts them at a greater risk for heatstroke.
6 Tips to Prevent Canine Obesity (and Tips to Help Dogs Lose Weight)
You may think that your fat pup looks cute, after all, we all do love our fur-babies irrespective of their breed, size, or age but little do we know how dangerous can those few extra pounds be. Canine obesity is prevalent in the U.S. with the statistics revealing that 56% of dogs in the U.S are classified as obese. The numbers are alarming mainly because the effects of obesity can be detrimental to our dogs’ health, lowering their quality of life.
Just like humans, excessive body fat in our dogs can lead to diseases such as diabetes, high cholesterol, joint diseases such as arthritis, hypertension, breathing issues and even heart failure. Studies reveal that dogs with an ideal weight may have an increase in life expectancy of about ten months. Since obesity can have such dangerous impacts, it’s essential to keep track of our dog’s weight and cut off the extra pounds to ensure a happy and healthy life for our canine companions. If you are a worried dog-parent, here are six tips that can help treat as well as prevent obesity in dogs:
- Measure Your Dog’s Food Intake and Calories
The primary reason behind obesity is based on simple mathematics; all living beings need to burn the number of calories they eat every day to avoid weight gain. When our dogs eat high-calorie foods rich in carbs and fat without expending sufficient energy, they begin to put on extra pounds. It is also essential to understand what we can and can’t feed our dogs. Many foods and various brands of commercially available kibbles have a high proportion of unhealthy fat and calories which means these need to be avoided. Some of the packaged dog foods have the feeding amounts mentioned on the pack, but these may be overestimated, so it’s best to consult your vet regarding appropriate feeding instructions. Make sure you have a standard measuring cup for precise portioning. Purchase high-quality kibble that doesn’t contain fillers and has high nutritional content.
- Exercise Your Dog
Just like we need to hit the gym to shed the extra pounds and prevent ourselves from putting them back on our canines also require a higher amount of activity to melt the excess fat. Work on gradually increasing your dog’s level of physical exertion, for instance, extend the duration of your regular walk and increase the pace. You can also try out different indoor games or consider building an agility course in the backyard.
- Make Changes to Your Dog’s Diet
There are a lot of minor nutrition mistakes that many dog-parents tend to make without even realizing that we may be doing something wrong such as feeding table scraps or not measuring the caloric intake. There are conflicting viewpoints as far as the choice of free feeding, or mealtime feeding is concerned. Both the methods have their respective pros and cons, so it is up to you what you opt for. As for free feeding, it can be successful if you make your pups develop the habit from an early age but do monitor his regular intake to ensure he isn’t eating too much or too little than the daily amount. Replace fats with healthier alternatives such as baby carrots, green beans, celery, cucumber, etc. Grain-free dog foods are the popular choice these days; however, these may cause problems of their own. A few studies indicate that grain-free or boutique dog food and nutritional deficiencies may lead to DCM (Dilated cardiomyopathy) which can result in heart failure. The rate of DCM has increased in dogs particularly the retrievers and some atypical dog breeds, and taurine deficiency can be one of the contributing factors, so it’s best to look for a brand that has taurine additives.
- No Table Scraps
They say sharing is caring, well, not in the case of us sharing our food with our fur-babies. Some dogs develop the annoying habit of asking for food from the dinner table, and most dog-parents do end up giving into those “puppy dog eyes” without realizing the havoc it may wreak on our dog’s digestive system. Many human foods can be toxic to our dogs, and others contain a high amount of calories which will be an unnecessary addition to your pup’s diet so next time your pooch requests to taste the delicious chicken pot pie, firmly say NO to him and change the habit.
- Cut on the Treats
Treating our pups is an effective way that most of us rely on while training or handling doggy tantrums. Treats aren’t harmful; it’s the type and amount that makes all the difference. First of all, it is essential to keep a balance between treats and your dog’s regular meals. For instance, if you have given your dog, plenty of treats cut down on his food intake. As for the choice of treats, instead of choosing the unhealthy sugar-loaded goodies select single-ingredient treats. You can prepare many delicious goodies at home as well for your weight conscious canine.
Measure Your Dog’s Weight
You are not only supposed to work on your dog’s weight loss program but also monitor the progress to ensure that things are on track. Ideally, your pup should lose 1lb every month if you follow the right weight loss regime. Make sure you monitor your dog’s weight and check with your vet every month regarding your dog’s progress.