Did you know that obesity is not just a problem among people these days? More and more pets are being diagnosed as being obese, but the good news is that there is something that you can do about it. The key is to make sure that you know the importance of keeping your dog at a healthy weight. Before we get into the ways to help your dog lose weight, let’s first talk about the dangers that come along with canine obesity.
As you can see, there are a lot of risks that are associated with obesity in dogs. One of the best ways to cut down their risks is to keep them healthy. The problem is, with many Americans being obese themselves, it is often difficult to get them to understand the importance of their dog being healthy, when they don’t take the time to make themselves healthy.
What is a Healthy Weight for Your Dog?
Assessing your dog’s healthy weight range isn’t always easy. Typically, it requires doing some math, but for those of you that don’t really like doing math all that well, you can also talk to your vet about the healthy weight range for your pup. They will be able to calculate it for you with ease, and that will give you a good target to aim for. click here for ideal weight ranges.
If you are committed to getting your dog healthy, then here are a few tips that will really help you out. Sometimes, it is about focusing on the things that you can do to help, and even the little things matter. It may mean making simple changes to your dog’s lifestyle, but those simple changes can bring about drastic improvements in their health and wellness.
How Can YOU Help Your Dog Lose Weight
#1 – Set a Goal for Your Pup’s Weight Loss
Setting a goal is actually going to help you a great deal, but you want the goal to be realistic. Just like you wouldn’t give yourself an unrealistic weight loss goal, you can’t do it for your dog. If you overdo their dieting and exercise, then you may actually cause more harm than good for them. You don’t want them to be malnourished. Talk to your veterinarian and discuss a healthy weight for your pup, then you will be able to go over your options and come up with a weight loss program that will be tailored to their specific needs.
#2 – Ensure Daily Exercise
We cannot overemphasize the importance of exercise as a part of your dog’s daily routine. Just like humans, dogs need exercise. This is one of the best ways to get them to lose weight. If your dog isn’t used to getting much exercise, then start them out slow. Go for a walk each day, and let them see the world around them. It will do you both some good. Fetch is also another great way to incorporate exercise into their daily routine. Chances are, if you get your pet active and exercising, you will be more active as well. This is actually a win-win. Exercise, it does a body good!
#3 – Control Portion Sizes
Sure, free feeding is very convenient. You just simply fill up the food bowl and let your dog eat whenever they want. You don’t have to think about feeding them meals, because they get their food when they are ready for it. The problem is, you can really never judge just how much food your dog is actually eating. This is one of the easiest ways to overfeed your pet without even knowing it. Most pet foods will come with portion size recommendations based on your dog’s weight, and it is ideal for you to stick within these ranges. Try to feed them controlled portions twice each day, instead of leaving food out for them around the clock. They will appreciate it down the road.
#4 – Pay Attention to the Frequency that You Feed Your Pup
This is actually an important tip. Most people are aware of the fact that eating small portions more often is healthier for humans, but that’s also a great idea for your pet. It is best for you to feed them once every 12 hours, which is basically twice each day. If you do this, they won’t likely binge eat like they would when they are served one big meal each day. Feeding them smaller portions more often can also help to improve their digestion.
#5 – Feed your Pup Whole Foods
The type of food that you feed your dog is also very important. If you haven’t ever done so, grab your pet’s food bag and take a look at the ingredients. Many commercial foods are filled with fillers and other ingredients that don’t really offer your pet too much nutrition. You want to look for foods that are made with whole food ingredients, fresh proteins and carbohydrates, along with healthy fats. This will help to give your pet the energy that they need. Reading the label also serves another purpose. It will help you to see exactly what your dog is getting in their diet. There are even some foods that are designed for weight control, and this may be something that you need to consider.
#6 – Avoid Commercial Dog Treats
Most pet owners just love giving their dogs treats from time to time, especially when they want to praise them for being good. The problem is that many of the treats that are sold in stores are actually chocked full of calories that can really pack the pounds on your pup. While treats are usually small, they can really add up if you aren’t careful. As a general rule of thumb, you don’t want treats to make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily caloric intake. If you really just can’t stand the thought of not treating your dog, look for healthier options. They have low calorie treats available, or you can make your own low calorie treats that your pet is sure to love. Fresh fruits and veggies make great snacks for pets. Just make sure that you don’t give them anything that may be dangerous to dogs.
#7 – Keep a Close Eye on Your Pup’s Weight
That’s right. When you are trying to lose weight and get healthy, you record your progress regularly, right? You want to do the same for your dog. It is important to weight them either once a week, or once every other week. By doing this, you will be able to see if what you are doing is working, or if you need to try something else. Typically, an overweight dog will lose around 1% of weight each week if they are following strict diet and exercise regimens. If you don’t see a difference on the scale, it may be time to talk to your vet about other options that may be more effective for your pet.
#8 – Pick Up the Food Bowl
While we already discussed portion control, some people still leave the food bowl down for their pet throughout the day. This can cause a wide variety of issues. A majority of dogs will go to the food bowl for a few bites throughout the day when they are bored. Even if they aren’t hungry, they may decide to just eat some of the food just because they want something to do. If your pet doesn’t eat when you offer it, put it away and offer it again. Over time, they will grow accustomed to the feeding schedule, and will want to eat when it is offered. If you have been a free feeder for a while, be ready for them to put up a fuss about it at first. Don’t worry though, they will adjust to it.
#9 – Buy Your Pup Interactive Toys
Did you know that there are interactive toys out there that actually encourage exercise? For instance, you will find toys that will actually dispense treats that help to reward your dog when they are active. The key is to fill these interactive toys with healthy treats, rather than high calorie snacks. Chances are, your pet will love the interaction, and the reward at the end. This is just a creative way to get your dog moving, especially if they fuss about exercising and being active.
#10 – Talk to Your Vet
Last, you will want to talk to your veterinarian. Before you do anything to help your pet lose weight, it is always important to get the advice of a professional. They will be able to determine their ideal weight, and even look into any underlying medical conditions that may be causing them to be overweight. Sometimes, it is just a simple fix, but other times it requires hard work on both your part and the part of your pup. Getting them checked out regularly is always a good idea though, even if they aren’t overweight.
As you can see, there are quite a few things that you can do to boost your dog’s health and promote a healthy weight. While obesity is still going to be a growing issue among pets, if more pet owners would understand the importance of keeping their pet healthy, more dogs would be within the healthy weight range. This would help to stamp out canine obesity, one pup at a time.
Don’t forget that caring for your pup is a primary responsibility on you, and that means keeping them healthy. If you let things get way out of hand, it can be even harder to get their weight back down. Don’t let your pet suffer, instead try out these 10 ways to help your dog lose weight. You are sure to find that it is a helpful guide that will point you in the right direction for overall health and wellness for your furry friend.