Pooch Pounds: How to Help Your Dog Get to a Healthy Weight

Obesity isn’t a just a people problem; dogs are getting fatter too. While shocking statistics reveal that 53% of dogs in the United States suffer from obesity – according to the Association  for Pet Obesity Prevention – what’s more concerning is that 22% of dog owners characterized their pet as normal weight when they were actually obese. Your furry little friend is counting on you to take care of his weight wellness. Otherwise, you could be putting his wellbeing at risk for other illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis. So how can you help keep your dog’s weight in check?


1. Be realistic: Setting a reasonable goal is the primary step in helping your pup shed a few pounds. You don’t want to overwork your dog or overdo his diet. Therefore, you need to consult a vet about the most compassionate and caring when plan for your canine, determining how much weight your pet needs to lose to achieve a healthy weight and a moderate, patient way in which to get there. These things take time, so don’t rush it.


2. Try to squeeze in a little exercise every day: Exercising is one of the most effective ways to lose weight, whether you’re person or pooch, so try to get your dog moving every day. Taking him for a daily brisk walk will work wonders for the both of you. The PPET (People and Pets Exercising Together) Study showed that working out with your dog enables you to stick with your diet plan better than non-dog owners. Just remember to gradually build up the routine. Once your dog is comfortable with a brisk walk, go for a quick jog or play a game of fetch in the park.


3. Get him to eat little and often: Portion control is vital to helping dogs lose weight, but how do you know how much your dog should actually be eating? It’s easy to overfeed your pet, so take pains to check your dog’s food package for the proper amount suggested, and feed him on the lower end of that suggested amount. In 2002, researchers at the University of Pennsylvania School of Veterinary Medicine found that a calorie-restricted diet helped canines to live nearly two years longer than dogs consuming additional calories. The best thing to do is divvy up your dog’s daily calorie needs into smaller portions – just like eating little and often is recommended for humans who want to lose weight. Feeding your dog at least every 12 hours improves his digestion, and also makes him less likely to binge during one big meal.


4. Choose the right foods: It’s not just how much you give your dog and when, but the kinds of foods that are the solution to your canine’s weight loss journey. Again, look on the label of your dog food package – what order are the ingredients in? The earlier the ingredient is listed, the more of it there is in the dog’s food, and so you should be seeing high-quality ingredients at the top of the list. Dehydrated dry foods are often bad examples of this, and your pet will find fresh proteins, carbohydrates and fat sources to be more energetically useful to. To dilute your pet’s calories and add more fibre, add steamed or pureed vegetables such as broccoli or carrots to his packaged meal.


5. Give him fewer treats: You love your dog and want to show him how much, but giving him treats is a bad way to do it. Those tiny snacks can really add up in the calorie department, and so you’re doing your pooch no favours. Don’t let treats equal more than 10% of your dog’s daily calories, unless you’re dishing out healthful treats such as fresh fruits or vegetables. Carrots, cucumbers, green beans and apples are all good choices.