As dog owners, we want what's best for our pet. We show them love, bring them on car rides, and feed them the best dog food we can afford. Some of us give our dogs lots of love and attention, while others have a harder time due to the demands of hectic schedules.
Sometimes, we get so busy logging extra hours at the office or taking our children back and forth to school and soccer games that we overlook some of the simple steps we can take to ensure that our canines enjoy a long and healthy life.
Fortunately, there are steps that all dog owners can take to improve their dog's health, two of them being diet and exercise. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), about 53% of dogs in the U.S. were overweight in 2014. What's more, the APOP found that 95% of those dogs' owners mistakenly believed that their dogs were a normal weight.
When we let our dogs get too heavy, we're inadvertently decreasing their lifespan, as well as their quality of life. While too many scraps at the table is an issue, it's not just people food that we have to worry about. Some people feed their dogs too much dog food and treats. We must give our dogs treats sparingly because the calories add up, especially if our dog is inside a lot.
How can I help my pet lose weight?
The easiest solution is to give them the proper amount of kibble for a dog of their age and breed. If you're not sure how much is "too much," you can discuss your dog's dietary needs with a veterinarian.
If your pet is obese, we recommend increasing their exercise routine, even if it means getting creative. For example, if you're older and can't get out easily, you can ask the neighbor kid to take your dog for a walk, or your grandchild can take your dog for a few laps around the backyard on a leash.
If it's raining or snowing outside, you can even put a leash on your dog and take them for a walk around your house. Anything you can do to get them up and moving will help.
If the weight isn't coming off fast enough, consult a veterinarian about putting your pet on a diet, and discuss the possibility of any underlying medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism, which may be causing the weight gain.