Dogs who are overweight are at risk for developing many health issues, including diabetes, high blood pressure, arthritis, liver and heart disease. Studies show overweight dogs even have higher risk for cancer. One of the most common and saddest problems we see is an older dog that has difficulty getting up and walking because he has developed arthritis from being overweight. With this in mind, veterinarians encourage pet owners with overweight dogs to focus on weight loss in a healthy manner. To ensure your four-legged friend enjoys an active, high-quality life, embrace the following animal clinic-approved weight management tips.
4 Tips to Help Manage Your Pup’s Weight
1. Measure Food
Your dog’s food intake should be measured based on their size and ideal body shape. To determine this measurement and to better understand proper feeding instructions, take your furry friend to the veterinarian to be weighed and evaluated. The doctor will provide specific food recommendations so your pup can achieve their goal weight in a healthy manner. There are low calorie prescription diets available if needed. Barring illness, if your dog is not eating all their food in a reasonable time you are likely over feeding them.
2. Limit Treats
Feeding your pup constant treats and table scraps can significantly increase their daily caloric intake. As you begin this weight-loss journey, offer treats sparingly, and consider healthy alternative treats like baby carrots, green beans or peanut butter popsicles. Most people are feeding good quality dog food. If you are adding table food to your dog food you are throwing off the balance of their food. Dog food companies have done extensive research into the ingredients and quality of their food. You should never have to add something to their food to get your dog to eat it.
3. Get the Entire Family Onboard
Your dog is likely to beg for treats and food in plenty of places. Schedule a family meeting and talk about the need to monitor your dog’s food intake to ensure they stay healthy and live longer. Make a pact as a family to limit treats and stick to portion control for the health of your beloved pet.
4. Extend Walks
In addition to reducing treats and monitoring meal times, give your dog a little extra exercise so they’re burning more calories and having fun at the same time. Extend each walk by a few minutes and consider trips to the dog park or playing more fetch in the backyard.
Are you looking for ways to boost your dog’s overall wellness through weight management? If so, Dr. Douglas Foreman and Dr. Roberta Mauro at Cherry Hill Dog & Cat Hospital in Elkton, MD, will help. You can depend on these veterinarians to provide quality, hands-on care, whether your furry friend needs flea control or dental assistance. Call (410) 398-1331 to schedule your pet’s first appointment. For more information on the services they provide, visit them online.