How Can I Help My Overweight Dog From Suffering From Obesity?
Obesity Is A Problem For Dogs
Would it bother you to learn that your fat dog is going to die soon?
If you are heartless it may not, but for many of us our dogs are like our children, and besides an early death we need to know that many of our dogs last days may be spent fighting off health problems. An obese dog may develop diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, liver problems, or even a skin disease where nasty fungi grow in the folds of her fat. All overweight dogs have a hard time dealing with heat waves and have more problems if they need to undergo anesthesia for dental problems.
An obese dog will not be able to participate in dog sports, not want to frolic around the house, and will finally have problems breathing even as she lies around.
Is that what you want to condemn her to? According to the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA), obesity is now the most common nutritional disorder of dogs.
One study done by the AVMA showed dogs fed a restricted calorie diet lived 2 years longer than overweight dogs, and the diseases of old age did not occur until much later in life. In an obesity study done in the UK, 21% of the dogs were considered obese and only 13% lean; Labradors were the dog breed most likely to be obese.
How Do I Start Her Weight Loss Program?
If you have already let your dog become overweight, the answer is probably not going to be as simple as a a weight loss drug like Slentrol. Studies have shown that most obese dogs are on the same diet as normal dogs, so even before changing the diet you need to work on these two important issues in your dog´s life.
1. Provide plenty of exercise
This should be together, which is good for both of you, or you can let her do things like dig for bones and toys buried in your yard. Most dogs are like people, and if they are in the back yard will just lay around, so it will be better for her if you get up and take her out for a walk. (Be careful of the heat. Fat dogs can´t walk as far and get overheated fast and, if she is also one of the flat-faced breeds like a Pug or Bulldog, overheating is even more likely.)
If your obese dog has already developed arthritis, swimming is an exercise that is easy on the joints. You might need to call around local dog clubs and rescue organizations to find a pool that accepts dogs for special swim times.
2. Teach her tricks with plenty of movements
There are plenty of sites where you can learn tricks, and there are books available on Amazon.com and other locations. Teaching her tricks like “spin” will burn up calories and the tricks she performs do not need to be rewarded with treats. You both can have some fun with the weight loss program!
If you need a treat while teaching tricks you can use boiled egg whites, chopped up into small cubes. They are pure protein and low in calories.
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Other Ways To Help
3. Feed a low calorie diet
A balanced homemade diet is ideal, but I understand not everyone is willing to spend the time taking care of their dog. If you are, use more lean ingredients and less fat; you can control the exact amount of fat intake and give your dog what she needs.
If you do not have the will or time for making a diet at home you should at least be able to closely watch your dog´s calorie intake. No dog, even a Labrador that will eat almost anything, should be overweight. I have heard clients complain “If we don´t feed her more she will scrounge around and find things.”
Dogs are scavengers, it does not matter how much you feed them, most of them will find things to eat.
If you do choose to feed a commercial weight loss ration you need to feed less of it than recommended and monitor your dog´s weight loss. Another study by the AVMA showed that dogs actually gained weight on the commercial weight reduction diets when fed at the suggested amounts.
4. Don’t bother putting her on a fad diet
Yes, there are plenty of fad diets available now for obese dogs! You need to remember that your dog did not gain the weight quickly and she is not going to lose quickly. A good diet with plenty of exercise will help her to lose weight steadily. There are not nearly as many fad diets for dogs as there are for people but every once in a while someone will come up with something new.
Stick to her regular diet and things will improve.
5. Keep track of her weight loss
Weight loss should be gradual and if you do not monitor her weight at the beginning and every week thereafter you might become discouraged. Keep track every few weeks so that you keep up with the program.
The best part about putting your dog on a weight control program can be the benefits for both of you. You can both be healthier, thinner, and live longer.
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