Dogs that gain weight tend to not live longer than more healthier dogs. The weight gain makes them very vulnerable to diseases. Having so much weight can be a real stress on their joints and back. Here are a few dangerous health conditions that obesity in dogs can cause:
- Heart disease
- Lung disorders
- High blood pressure
- Immune dysfunction
- Cancerous tumors
This infographic shows other health issues from obesity:
Here is a strategy to help your dog get healthy:
Figure Out the Health Condition of Your Dog
1. Look and Determine the Condition of Your Dog’s Body
Study your dog from side to side and up and down. If their waist is easily noticeable with a sagging abdomen than your dog needs a new healthy lifestyle. A broad and flat back is another sign of the dog being overweight.
2. Do a Rib Test
Place your hands on the sides of your dog’s chest and feel their ribs. In a normal dog, you wont see their ribs, but you should feel and count them. If you can’t do this easily, than your dog is overweight.
3. Weigh Your Dog
Figure out your dog’s ideal weight range based on their breed. You can visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention’s website for help. Next weigh your dog at home by first weighing yourself than picking up the dog. Subtract your own weight from the combined weight to figure out the weight of the dog. Or you can go to your local veterinarian and use their accurate process to weigh a dog.
Create a Weight Loss Plan
1. Visit your Local Veterinarian
This certified professional can help you develop a custom plan for your dog. He or she can give you advice on food portions, food label recommendations, and the amount of fitness needed.
2. Work Together with your Veterinarian to Create a Weight Loss Plan
The professional will most likely recommend that you might have to count the amount of calories in your dog’s food. Your dog has to consume less calories than they burn. When you can figure out your dog’s ideal weight than you can figure out calories needed daily to burn weight. Here is a calculator to help.
Following the Weight Plan
1. Feed Your Dog Healthy Food
Be careful with food labels because they give information on weight maintenance, this can cause the dog to gain more than they loose. So make sure to calculate the calories and feed your dog yourself. Don’t allow him to freely eat. Schedule to give them a few small portions a day.
2. Measure the Dog Food
You have to figure out exactly what and how much your dog is eating in order to successfully follow their plan. Measure the dog’s food with a 8 oz measuring cup to find the exact amount of food needed. Make adjustments if needed.
3. Add Healthier Food Options
Be careful in buying dog food that is labeled “diet” or “lite” because some can contain carbohydrate fillers. These low-calorie, bulky food only help your dog feel full for a short time and soon they will want more food. Find dog food that are:
- Above-average protein
- Below-average fat
- Below-average calories
You can buy canned food that contain these or create a home-cooked meal for your dog.
4. Cut out the Unhealthy Treats and Replace Them with Better Ones
Treats should make up no more than 10% of the dog’s total daily diet. Do not buy commercial treats because they are high in calories. Examples of healthier snacks are carrots, green beans, broccoli, celery, and apples
5. Exercise Your Dog
Your dog must burn more calories than they take to loose weight. It’s recommend that they exercise 30 minutes everyday. Talk to your Vet to figure out the best exercise choices for your dog because not all dogs can do the same thing. A few ideas that can help are long walks or outdoor games.
Monitor Your Dog’s Weight Loss
1. Scale Your Dog
Scale and record your dog’s weight once a week. Make any adjustments if your dog is gaining or loosing too much weight. Make sure that no one in your household is giving them extra treats.