Veterinarians generally define a dog that weighs 20 percent more than its ideal weight as obese. Surveys have found that approximately 5 percent of dogs in the United States are obese, and another 20-30 percent are overweight. The primary cause of canine obesity is overfeeding and insufficient exercise.
Like humans, being overweight does not only put a strain on your dogs cardiovascular system, but it also puts unnecessary strain on your dogs joints and ligaments. Also as in humans, overloading a dogs joints compounded with a lack of exercise can cause poor muscle tone and fitness leading to joint strain and or joint injuries.
If you think your dog is overweight, you should first consult with your veterinarian before putting your dog on a diet. Your vet will be able to recommend the proper weight loss plan for your dog.
Some things to consider when trying to get your dog to lose weight.
As the old saying goes, you are what you eat. This applies to your pets as well. Eating too much of the wrong kinds of foods, including dog foods, is the primary reason for dogs being overweight. By making some simple changes regarding your pet’s diet, you can make a big difference in their weight and overall healthiness.
Feed them smaller portions at meal time. Small regular meals are better than one big meal, so divide your dog’s daily portion into two or three smaller portions given throughout the day.
Be careful with dog foods you choose. Be sure and avoid dog foods that contain high levels of artificial additives, fats and sugars.
Cut down or eliminate the snack and treats that you give your dog. If you do give your dog a treat be sure to select a healthy treat. Not all treats are created the same, look for a treat that contains less fat and more nutrients. Another option is to give your dog a vitamin supplement such as NuVet Plus as a treat. Your dog will still be happy to get a treat and you will be happy knowing your dog is getting the nutrition he needs.
Don’t feed your dog from the table; even as hard as it is sometimes with their sad eyes and starving look about them (they aren’t actually going to starve)! And make sure that your entire family follows the no table feeding rule and are aware of the situation and the consequences of your dog being overweight.
You mustn’t forget possibly the most important aspect to weight control. EXERCISE!! Just like us, exercise and healthy eating go hand and hand.
When considering the type and extent of exercise to give your dog, it is worth considering that older or unfit dogs will require a very different recommended exercise regiment than younger dogs. You may need to build up their exercise schedule slowly and not overdue it prematurely which could lead to injuries or other health risks.
The bottom line is that your dog’s weight control is very similiar to your own. Eat healthy and exercise. Finding healthier food for you is often much easier than for your pet, so learn all you can about the dog food you are feeding your dog and look for healthier alternatives. Click here to get more information on finding healthy dog foods. Providing your dog with a quality all natural vitamin supplement will assist you in your dog’s weight control as well and give them the vitamins and nutrients that dog foods alone won’t supply.