Tips For Putting Your Dog On A Diet
Are you thinking about putting your dog on a diet? Here’s what you should know before cutting back the calories.
If you don’t keep an eye on your dog’s weight, it’s easy to overfeed and under exercise him, causing him to pack on some extra pounds. Obesity is dangerous in dogs, as it can contribute to a range of medical problems, from heart disease to arthritis – this is reason enough for putting your dog on a diet! The good news is it’s fairly easy to get your pup back in shape. It’s a simple case of making sure your dog is expending more calories than he takes in. So, this means less food and more exercise!
Is Your Dog Overweight?
It can be hard to tell if your dog is overweight simply by looking at him, especially if he’s long-haired or has a naturally stocky build. A good way to tell if your canine companion is overweight is to feel around his ribs and down his spine. There should only be a very thin layer of fat between his skin and his bones. As such, you should be able to clearly feel his ribs and spine, though not necessarily see them. If you can only feel fat, then your dog is definitely overweight. If you’re unsure, consult your veterinarian to give you a definitive answer. It’s also a good idea to ask your vet to check if your dog is overweight each time you take him in for a routine checkup.
A Visit to the Doctors
Before putting your dog on a diet, you need to take him to see his vet. Not only will they be able to check for any underlying medical conditions that could be causing the weight gain, they’ll also be able to tell you how much to feed your pet for optimum weight loss. It’s best to get professional advice on this, because if you underfeed your dog it could lead to deficiencies and cause more problems, but if you overfeed him he won’t lose weight.
It can be hard to know exactly how much is the right amount to feed you dog when you’re trying to judge by eye. Instead, you should weigh your dog’s food or measure it by volume to ensure that you’re not giving him too much or too little.
What to Feed
Just because you’re putting your dog on a diet, it doesn’t mean he’s not going to get hungry. If his portions look measly and aren’t filling him up, consider switching to a low-calorie, low-fat dog food. This way, your pup will get more bang for his buck, so to speak.
Treats are a big culprit when it comes to racking up the extra calories, but that doesn’t mean you have to forgo them altogether. Instead, go for a low-cal option. Chucks of carrot and celery can make great dog treats, but if your pooch is pickier, he might prefer commercial vegetable-based treats, such as dehydrated sweet potato jerky.
As long as you stick to your dog’s diet, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t see steady progress with his weight loss. However, in addition to putting your dog on a diet, he should start on a strict exercise regime. Regular exercise is important for keeping your dog healthy and mentally stimulated. Make sure that you’re walking your dog an appropriate amount for his breed or size; you might be surprised at how much exercise your four-legged friend needs.