obesity in pets
Your Dog May Need to Slim Down
Author, Darlene Wagner for Professional Pet Sitting Etc.
According to a May 2014 survey by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, almost 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, with only a small percentage having a health condition that contributes to their excess weight. In other words, the majority of those chubby pups are overweight because of the manner in which their pet parents care for them ~ with too much food, too many treats and insufficient exercise.
Sure, it’s tempting to spoil your dog. After all, we love him, he’s a member of your family, and how can you possibly resist those sweet puppy dog eyes? But, what may seem like a kindness, reward or show of love for your dog can actually be a punishment in the long run.
How Can I Tell if My Dog is Overweight?
You may not be able to identify your dog’s need to lose weight based on his appearance alone. Pets can appear to be in good shape even when they are not. At the appropriate weight, your dog should have only a thin layer of fat over his ribs and show an hourglass shape when looking down on him. If your pooch has long hair, take a close look at him the next time you bathe him, when his hair is wet. If your dog doesn’t show an obvious waistline just after the rib cage, and is essentially rectangular-shaped, it’s a good sign he needs to lose a few pounds.
Of course, if after inspection you’re still unsure if you’d classify your dog as overweight, the best thing to do is get your veterinarian’s opinion.
How Can Being Overweight Harm My Dog?
Your overweight dog is at risk of several health conditions that can seriously affect his quality of life, including:
- Breathing difficulties, as the layer of fat surrounding his chest can make it harder to breathe
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Liver disease
- Skin diseases, as the folds in the dog’s skin become larger
- Arthritis, as joints carrying too much weight are subject to more wear and tear
- Shortened life span
Even if your dog does not suffer from any of these conditions, research shows properly managed food intake can help your pooch live longer.
How Can I Help My Dog Slim Down?
Chances are, your dog’s obesity is due to him eating too much and not exercising enough. So, just feed him less and walk him more, right? That simple solution is easier said than done! Here are a few suggestions to helping him along the way:
- Be sure to follow the feeding guidelines on your dog’s food.
- If he has a lot of weight to lose, try a prescription diet food. This will allow him to lower his caloric intake while still getting enough of the nutrients he needs.
- As hard as it may be on both of you, stop giving your pooch between-meal treats and bedtime snacks, unless it is a health option such as a few steamed green beans or a spoonful of plain pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling!).
- Make sure your entire family is on board. There’s no point in having your weight loss guidance ruined by another person feeding your dog snacks on the sly.
- Show your dog how much you love him in a way that doesn’t involve food. Trade a treat for a massage or a game of fetch.
- Increase your pooch’s exercise by taking him for more walks (aim for at least two 15-minute walks each day), taking him to the local dog park, joining him in a good game of tug-o-war, etc. Just like humans, your dog needs (and craves!) aerobic activity.
Obesity is a preventable condition that has many adverse effects on your precious pooch’s health. If you determine your canine companion is carrying around a few extra pounds, make the necessary changes to help him enjoy a better quality of life.
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About the Owner and Professional Pet Sitting Etc
Dorinne Whynott, is a long time animal professional. She is a successful business owner establishing one of the largest pet sitting companies in New Hampshire since 1990. Click to Read her complete History.
Professional Pet Sitting Etc. is a leading business in the pet care field and continues to grow since 1990. It is an AWARD WINNING business, having been awarded the 2015 Best Pet Sitting , 2015 Best Dog Walker, Business of the Year Awards in 1996, 1997, 2006 and 2010. It boasts 30+ amazing pet sitters on staff, over 3000 clients in 38 cities from Nashua to Concord, NH. Hundreds of satisfied client testimonials can be found on their website and more 5 star reviews on their Facebook page, Google+ page and more. They have sustained an A+ rating with the BBB, A rating with Angie’s List and are unmatched in the Pet Sitting Industry in New Hampshire.
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