Obesity may not be the first health concern dog owners have about their pets—but it is a problem to be aware of. In fact, according to American Pet Obesity Prevention statistics, nearly 50 million dogs weigh too much. Unfortunately, being overweight predisposes these four-legged friends to a variety of serious medical conditions, including kidney dysfunction, diabetes, high blood pressure, and heart disease. If you want to help your canine lead a long and healthy life, here are a few pet care tips to keep excess weight under control.
5 Pet Care Tips to Control Dog Obesity
1. Consider Calories Over Portion Sizes
A single cup of one type of dog food can provide a widely different amount of calories between different products. As such, it’s important to not get into the routine of basing your pet’s meals on portion sizes alone—but the amount of calories the food contains. Consult a trusted veterinarian to see how many calories your dog actually needs, as the number can vary significantly based on animal size, activity level, and breed.
2. Save Treats for Special Occasions
To help prevent obesity, limit the treats you feed your dog to special occasions, such as when they exhibit a good behavior or after they’ve finished a long hike. It can also help to choose healthy, nutritionally balanced treats over those that are packed full of carbohydrates and sodium.
3. Stay Active
To keep your dog active, provide 30 minutes to two hours of daily exercise in the form of walks, games of fetch, or playing outside. If your dog is obese and has trouble keeping up with the pace, ask a veterinarian how you can safely begin a new fitness regimen.
4. Keep Human Food Off-Limits
If you have a habit of feeding your dog table scraps, it’s best to stop the practice. Not only does feeding dogs human food contribute to begging behaviors, but it can also expose your pet to excess amounts of calories, fat, sugar, and other nutrients that their body isn’t equipped to handle.
5. Reevaluate Nutritional Needs
Dogs require different diet plans at different stages of their life. For example, puppies may need extra calories and nutrients to build strong bones and muscles. Senior animals, on the other hand, should eat lighter and cleaner food products. To make sure you’re providing the best pet care for your pup, review acceptable foods with your veterinarian at every checkup.
When your canine companion needs help with weight control, Animal Health Care Center North is here to help. Located in Rhinelander, WI, this animal hospital is equipped to monitor canine growth, manage fitness levels, and make dietary recommendations to keep your pet at a healthy weight. In addition to weight management services, this provider offers a wide variety of other pet care services to keep your pup healthy and happy, including vaccinations and flea and tick prevention. Visit this clinic online to learn more about their services or call (715) 365-8387 to schedule a convenient appointment.