Your dog has a few extra pounds to lose, but you don’t want to deprive him of what seems like life’s little pleasures? Find out more about the reasons why it is a good idea to help your pet lose weight. We also have a few tips to create a successful weight loss program.
How can I tell if my pet is overweight?
There are a few easy ways to determine if your dog is overweight. Start by placing your hands along his chest and feel for his ribs with your fingers. If you can easily feel the ribs without pressing too hard, then your dog is in good shape. If the ribs are difficult to distinguish, then your dog would benefit from a weight loss program.
You can also determine your pet’s condition by assessing his weight. For example, a dog that weighs 16,5 kg (36 lbs) when he should weigh 15 kg (33 lbs) is considered overweight because his actual weight represents a 10% excess. Do not hesitate to ask your veterinarian to evaluate your dog’s weight. Your veterinarian can then suggest the best weight loss plan for your pet.
Why is my dog overweight?
As they age or after neutering, most dogs will tend to gain weight. A dog’s metabolism will change as he gets older, requiring less calories and energy to maintain vital functions, like digestion, respiration, body temperature control, etc. The same changes occur after a dog has been sterilized. If the amounts fed to an older or sterilized dog are not adjusted accordingly, they may tend to gain weight easily.
Why is it worrisome for my pet to be overweight?
As with people, being overweight can have serious consequences. An overweight dog will put excess strain on his joints, leading to early-onset arthritis. Certain chronic conditions like heart disease and diabetes are also more common in overweight pets. Your dog’s life expectancy will be shortened if he is overweight. These are all great reasons to help your pet lose weight.
How can I help my dog lose weight?
Any weight loss plan involves modifying two aspects of your dog’s daily routine: the food he eats and the amount of physical activity he receives.
Nutrition and feeding
The diet fed to your dog must be well balanced, containing less calories while still maintaining good muscle development. These low calorie ingredients must contain enough nutrients so as to not create any deficiencies in proteins, minerals, or essential fatty acids. Without these essential nutrients, a diet will not function correctly. If you have any doubts as to the composition of your dog’s kibble, do not hesitate to contact your veterinarian. The veterinary team can help you make sense of the pet food labels on packaging. The veterinarian can also recommend good quality brands that are adapted to your pet’s metabolism.
Sport and physical activity
Practicing regular physical activities will help your dog burn fat and build lean muscle. Not all dogs are built for running, but try to find activities that you both can enjoy, considering your dog’s breed and abilities. These actiuvities can then become a wonderful bonding experience while also benefiting his waistline.
Is your dog overweight? We recommend a balanced weight loss program to help him live a long and healthy life. If you need some tips, contact a veterinarian for a consultation and professional help.