How to Help Your Overweight Dog
According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 60% of cats and 56% of dogs in the United States are considered obese.
There are a few tell-tale signs that your pet may be obese. For example, you should easily be able to feel and count your dog’s ribs. Additionally, try looking down on your pet from above. You should see an hourglass body shape or some sort of indentation near their midsection. If your pet has some tummy sticking out, this could be a sign that your dog is overweight. And finally, look at your pet from the side. You should see a slight upward slope of the tummy. If the abdomen is hanging low, then your pet is most likely overweight.
How to Help Your Overweight Pet
Obesity in pets is an important issue and can have negative implications on their health as well as inconveniences and higher costs for you in the long run. Below are some ways to help your overweight pet get into great shape:
- Decrease calorie intake: Excess calories are the main cause of obesity in pets. Try limiting the number of treats you and your family can give your pup each day. You can even break larger treats into smaller pieces and try replacing traditional treats with healthier options such as carrots or apple slices. Additionally, you may need to consult with your vet and switch up your pet’s diet. Opting for a more natural diet with more vegetables and fewer carbs may be a good option. Be sure to check with your vet if you’re unsure of what foods to give your pet.
- Give your pet daily exercise: Getting outside and moving around is a great way for your pet to burn extra calories. There are many options for exercise that you can give your pup and create a great bonding experience as well. Try scheduling playdates with other dogs, taking your pet on long walks (or even jogs!), and playing fetch with them. Anything that can get your dog moving will help burn the extra calories.
- Know the difference between begging and hunger: Keep track of your dog’s scheduled mealtimes. Oftentimes, a dog may beg for food even after they just ate, but this isn’t necessarily a sign of hunger. More often than not, it is a sign your dog just wants attention. By knowing your dog’s optimal weight, food portion sizes, and mealtimes, you will know when it’s time for your pet’s mealtime.