If your dog had a little too much food and fun on his summer holiday, it might be time to get back on track and shed a few puppy pounds. It’s not uncommon for dogs to pack on the pounds when life gets a little hectic at home. Summer vacations and kids at home can often mean less time for walks and more summer snacks.
A little weight goes a long way on a dog and a few extra pounds can have a large impact on their life and overall health. Joint pain, high blood pressure and difficulty breathing are just a few of the problems overweight dogs can experience.
If you’re not sure if your dog is overweight, feel their ribs. You should be able to feel the ribs with a slight padding on them. If you can feel space between the ribs, they are underweight. If you can’t feel or it is difficult to feel the ribs, your dog is overweight. If you still aren’t sure, consult your vet.
Check out these healthy ways to get Fido looking fit:
- You don’t have to take treats out of your dog’s life entirely, but do replace them with healthy options. And there are many dog-friendly fruits and veggies that make a filling and healthy treat.
- Chews and rawhides are also calorie packed and should be limited.
- This should be done gradually as with any change in diet. Look for a healthy, holistic food that is rich in nutrients and low in calories.
- Count calories. The measurements on the back of the dog food bag may not match up to your dog’s activity level and should be adjusted accordingly.
- Measure your dog’s food. Don’t allow for free-feeding, as some dogs don’t know when to stop. Make sure you are using actual measurements rather than filling a bowl, or feeding until they seem full.
- Make eating an active experience: If you have trouble encouraging your dog to get up and exercise, use food as a motivator. Put meals in treat balls or toys that roll and encourage your dog to be active while he eats. You can also hide food in the house or yard to encourage your dog to use their mind and body to find it.
- Get your dog moving: Throw balls, go on walks, visit a new place. Start slow if your dog is not used to physical activity.
- There are many beneficial supplements that can help in weight loss and overall well being. Omega-3 are a healthy option that can be found in some treats, foods and oils. It can encourage weight loss among it’s many other benefits.
- If you’ve made changes and still find your dog is not losing weight, it’s time for a visit to the vet. There are many underlying health issues such as diabetes and issues related to thyroid, that can affect your dog’s ability to lose weight.
Once you dedicate time and attention to helping your dog shed pounds, you'll find you have a much happier, healthier, more active and alert pet than ever before!