When a person wants to lose weight, limiting his caloric intake and adding more physical activities to his day usually work. The same is true for your pets. If your dog is getting a little heavy, it might be a good idea to start limiting its food and making your dog exercise more.
However, unlike humans, who can say when enough is enough, it might be more difficult to find a balance for your dog’s weight loss efforts. Here are some useful steps that you can take in order to help your beloved pet lose weight in a healthy manner.
Why Should Your Dog Lose Weight?
An animal that is overweight is more susceptible to health issues like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other medical problems. Putting on extra pounds can affect your pet’s quality of life.
The added weight can put a strain on the dog’s back and joints. This could eventually lead to arthritis. In order to allow your pet to live a long and healthy life, it is best that you help them slim down.
Assess If Your Pet Is Really Overweight
A visual test can help you assess if your dog is putting on too much weight. Check your dog’s profile from the side and the top. Their waist should be obvious when you observe the area in front of their rear legs. There should also be a definite difference between the dog’s chest and abdomen.
If you check your pet’s profile from the side, you should be able to tell the difference in size between the abdomen and the chest. The abdomen should be closer to the dog’s spine than its chest. If you notice that your dog’s abdomen is sagging or it has a flat and broad back, your pet may be overweight. To confirm, you might be better served by seeing a veterinarian.
Work With A Vet To Figure Out An Effective Meal Plan
Our friends from Time for Paws, an online pet supplies store, say that once you and your dog’s veterinarian have established how overweight your pet is, the doctor can find out why your dog is gaining weight. Could it be from a lack of exercise, or is it caused by overfeeding? Is there an underlying medical condition that needs to be addressed? Once those details are established, the doctor can help you come up with a meal plan that will suit your pet’s needs. You might be asked to buy a different kind of dog food.
The vet may also give suggestions on what treats can help your dog lose weight rather than gain it. You will probably be instructed on how to control portion size and what times to feed your dog. If not, ask about these things so you will know how to best help your pet lose the excess weight. Ask also about possible physical activities that will be safe for your pet to try out. Usually, going on runs is enough, but your vet will be able to better identify what other activities you can try out.
Stick To A Weight Loss Plan
If you are helping your dog lose weight, it is important to follow a weight loss plan. The vet may have already prescribed a type of dog food to buy, make sure that you stick to this. Make sure to measure your dog’s food portions properly. Buying a special diet food would be pointless if you still allowed your pet to overeat. If you notice that your pet is still not losing weight, ask the vet if it is safe to reduce the amount of dog food even more. Use a scale or a measuring cup so you can be sure that you are giving your pet the right amount of food. Keep track of your pet’s weight to see if the plan is working. Do not be tempted to give your dog extra treats. This will go against its weight loss plan.
Engage In More Physical Activities With Your Pet
Exercising on a regular basis will do wonders for your pet’s health. It will improve its muscle tone, reduce their weight, and even boost its metabolism. All of these will lead to weight loss. While running around may seem like a good idea, some dog breeds are not meant to engage in very strenuous activities.
That is why it is always a good idea to talk to your pet’s veterinarian before adding more physical activities to their schedule. Going on a short walk every morning or afternoon may be a good starting point, especially if your dog is out of shape. You can gradually increase the speed and distance by observing how much your dog can tolerate. You can also incorporate exercise into your games. Playing fetch is a good game for this purpose.
Check Your Dog’s Progress
After a few weeks, it is advisable to go back to the vet to see how much progress your pet has made in terms of losing weight. This way, the doctor can assess if your weight loss plan is effective and may suggest changes in order to keep the pounds from coming back. Remember that, although it is added work, your dog will live a longer and healthier life if you continue on this weight-loss journey.