According the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention as of 2014, 52.7% of Dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese. Just as in humans, obesity is a growing problem in pets that can lead to health issues and shortened lifespans.
Obese dogs can develop high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and respiratory diseases, cancers and may be more susceptible to pancreatitis. Many dogs that are obese are dogs that eat out of boredom, continually beg, or get lots of treats. Dogs that have access to their food all day may overeat knowing that their food dish will be filled again if it is empty.
If your dog is currently overweight, decreasing their food intake and increasing their exercise will help shed some weight. Giving your dog a predetermined amount of food and a certain window of time to eat can help limit their calorie consumption. If you already do this, decrease the amount of food. With multiple dogs, feeding them separately will make sure that both dogs are getting the amount of food they need.
Changing their food to a higher fiber diet or specially made for weight loss can significantly help with weight reduction. When changing your dog’s food, be sure to incorporate some of their original food with the new food to avoid stomach upset. Instead of giving your dog prepackaged treats, giving them baby carrots, broccoli, or even asparagus is another way to add extra fiber and lower their calories. Removing treats and substituting them for a form of interaction may distract their need for them.
Extending playtimes and walks will add more exercise to their routine. Begin adding additional distance to walks slowly, an extra half of a block every few days will quickly increase their calorie burn without too much strain.
Did you have an obese dog? How did you get the weight under control? Share your tips with us in the comments!