Help I think I am one of those fat dogs!
Within the last few decades, Americans have increased their diet both in quality and in portion size. With human obesity comes a host of diseases, including diabetes, heart attacks and strokes. A lesser known fact is that our dog companions can also suffer from obesity and exactly the same range of diseases affect them too. And if anything their health care treatment can come at an equal or greater cost than our own!
Fat Dogs don’t come naturally!
Some animals are naturally predisposed to obesity, while others become obese when their owners treat them a bit too often or leave out the food bowl. Being too busy to exercise your pet certainly wont help. Many Americans view their pets as their children, so spoiling them seems only natural. The problem is that with fat dogs (owner embarrassment aside) there are many health consequences and when animals become obese you reduce their ilfespan and most certainly their quality of life. As a dog owner you can kill your pet with kindness!
6 easy to follow tips to help your obese pooch
1. Take the animal to the vet. The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment with the vet to discuss your pet’s weight and how to control it. They can also make sure there aren’t any pressing issues that need dealing with before finding a weight loss solution. Together you and your vet you can come up with a course of treatment like point number 2.
2. Feed the animal a prescription diet food. If your animal is obese, the vet will likely prescribe a diet dog food. A common one that is used is Hills prescription diet dog food for your canine. Give the exact amount that your vet recommends daily. You will likely no longer be able to leave the food bowl down for your pet to eat whenever he would like. If a prescription diet is out then take the simple action of feeding your pet 1/3 less than you normally do. Just like humans you don’t want to starve your pet but reduce the weight gradually.
3. As per above some dog breeds if left with an unlimited amount of food will keep eating all day. Remember dogs can scrounge in the wild and will look for food all day. If you provide an endless supply many dogs will take advantage of that. Have specific feeding times and stick to them religiously. Let your pooch learn when feeding time is. Even build some training into your fat dogs daily routine. Let them know they need to sit,stay etc etc before feeding time.
4. Limit treats. Spoiling our animals with treats feels like a loving action but adding all those high protein tasty snacks on top of their normal diet means your only adding to the problem. Find healthy solutions to treats, do a web search for some ideas or go and look extra hard in the pet food isle or shop next time.
Try some great ideas for dog treats that wont affect their weight.
5. Let your animal exercise. Put your walking shoes on, grab the leash and take him for walks as recommended by your vet. And remember to start with steadily increasing distances dont try to for a marathon with your poor overweight dog yet. If you have a good back yard, try to get him to play with a toy that engages him. Just like humans, exercise helps those Fat Dogs burn up calories and accelerate weight loss.
6. Find a local dog park and take your pet there to meet other dogs. There is nothing like socializing with other dogs and racing around for 20minutes smelling tails and playing tag with other dogs to help speed up his weight loss. There is also the walk to the park and back to take into account with your fat dogs weight loss regime. The good news is this is slightly less intensive for you (unless you can do with a walk to help shed a few pounds too)
In the real world Americans are struggling with their weight and diet, as are American dogs. However just like you with guidance from the vet and a little discipline, your animal, too, can shed the excess pounds. Perhaps this is the time for your pre-new years resolution for you and your dog to become healthy together!
***Photo thanks to Jeremy Vandel, Normanack, Inkknife_2000***