Pet obesity is an increasing problem and there are more and more dogs carrying more weight than they should. Dogs that are overweight, like humans, are at higher risk of various health problems, injuries, and illnesses. If your veterinarian has told you that losing weight could benefit your dog, it is important to act quickly and make changes to your pet’s lifestyle to be healthier to make sure they are enjoying their best health. Fortunately, there are many ways to help your dog achieve an ideal healthy weight.
Make sure your dog needs to lose weight
First, it’s important to make sure that your dog is actually on a diet. The best way to tell if your dog is weighing more than he should is to take him to the veterinarian to have him checked out to see where he will be weighed. The veterinarian will compare your dog’s weight to what is expected to be a healthy weight for your dog’s age, breed, and gender. Different breeds of dogs have different body shapes; However, regardless of breed, the best way to tell if your dog is a healthy weight is to look at the same parts of its body. The ribs should be covered with very little fat and you should be able to easily feel them or be able to see their shape visually. A dog with a healthy weight will have a tummy tuck. When looking at your dog from above, its waist should be clearly visible behind its ribs.
Feed your dog a good quality diet
Just like humans, dogs are often overweight because they eat too much food or do not have the right nutrients in their diet. If your dog eats a lot but doesn’t get a lot of exercise, it usually leads to weight gain. It is important to make sure your dog is eating the right amount for his breed, age, weight, and activity level. It is important to avoid cheap, commercial dog foods if your dog is overweight as it is often filled with grains such as corn. Food high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants is the best choice for your dog to help them lose weight.
Take into account your dog’s exercise levels
As dogs get older, they often gain weight because they are no longer as active as they used to be but still eat the same amount and type of food. If your dog is having difficulty engaging in as much exercise because of his age as he was when he was young, it is important to adjust the diet accordingly to make sure it fits well with his new lifestyle. Raw Senior Dog Food from Bella and Duke is an ideal option as the meals are tailored to your dog and filled with the nutrients they need to reach and maintain a healthy weight once they get older and less active. Bella and Duke have tons of helpful information about how to safely switch your dog to raw food. Find out more about the benefits here.
Give your dog more exercise if you can
If your dog is not older and is having trouble getting more exercise, getting your dog more exercise is a great way to help lose weight. Just like with humans, taking more or longer walks each day will help your dog lose weight faster, and it is good for your own health too. If you don’t have a lot of time, you can just add 10 to 15 minutes a day to your dog’s normal walk. You may also want to include your dog in some form of agility training, or teach new tricks that require lots of exercise to improve fitness and flexibility.
Feed healthier goodies
Treats can add up quickly over the course of the day. Giving your dog a treat every time he follows a command can quickly add up the calorific value and add to your dog’s overall weight. However, cutting out treats won’t work for some dogs who are very food-motivated and need treatment to encourage them to exercise. In this case, however, it is best to stay away from sugar-filled treats made from low-quality materials and instead feed your dog high-quality treats made with healthy ingredients.
Food alternatives for rewards
Food can be a great reward when training your new pup. However, if your dog becomes overweight, there are some food alternatives to consider that you can use as treats, including finding their favorite toys and playing with them. You might be surprised to find that your dog reacts just as positively to simply being praised and patted enthusiastically for doing something right without the need for food. Clicker training can also be an ideal way to reduce the amount of treats you give your dog during the day when you are trying to help him lose weight. You may also want to try a method that will make your dog work harder to get the treatment that can encourage them to exercise. Games like hiding the treat and finding the treat keep your dog moving, while Kong toys can be used to give your dog a treat to work for to get out of the toy instead of getting it out of yours Hand.
You may also like … 3 surprising ways to make your dog’s day special
Avoid giving human food
It can be all too tempting to give your dog a small treat from the plate at dinner and he’ll look at you with sad, cute eyes. However, feeding leftovers and scraps can be a major cause of dogs becoming obese, especially when the whole family is doing it! Make sure everyone in your household is on board prohibiting human feed and that your dog is only getting high quality treats that are restricted throughout the day.
Feed little and often
If you are feeding your dog less to help lose weight, feeding your dog little and often when eating larger meals twice a day can help. Smaller meals throughout the day can help keep your dog feeling full longer. Less time to wait for your next meal can help curb unwanted behaviors like begging. If your dog is on a strict diet, it may be worth spending some time in the morning carefully weighing his food and portioning it into meals and treats so he doesn’t accidentally overeat.
Monitor your dog’s weight
Finally, it is important to keep an eye on your dog’s weight to make sure that the new diet is working for him and is getting the results you want. You may not notice the weight loss right away as your dog is with you all the time and the changes are often slow. You can have your dog weighed regularly at the vet or at home by weighing yourself with him on your scale and subtracting your own weight.
If you are overweight, dogs are at risk of serious health problems. So trying to get your dog to an ideal healthy weight is one of the best things you can do for their health and happiness.