An overweight dog can face many health problems. Aside from decreased mobility, overweight dogs are more likely to suffer from joint problems, diabetes, breathing problems, and are more prone to injuries. To help your canine companion avoid these health problems, it is important to correctly diagnose and treat canine obesity.
Does Your Dog Need To Go On A Diet?
Determining whether your dog needs to go on a diet is usually very simple. A dog at a healthy weight will appear slim, with a defined waist between the rib cage and hips. If it is difficult to determine whether a dog is overweight because of a thick coat, pet owners may also tell by the definition of the dog’s rib cage. A normal dog should have ribs that can be easily felt, and are not covered by a thick layer of fat. If it is difficult or impossible to feel the ribs, then the dog is overweight.
When determining how much weight a pet needs to lose, it may be advisable to seek guidance from a veterinarian. A knowledgeable veterinarian will not only be able to tell a pet owner whether a dog is overweight, but will also be able to determine how much weight the dog should lose. This gives pet owners a better understanding of the dog’s weight and a starting point from which to plan the diet.
Choosing An Effective Diet
There are many diets available to dog owners. Many pet supply stores carry a variety of diet dog foods. These dog foods are a simple way to begin a dog’s diet. However, many pet owners may prefer to put their overweight dog on a specialized diet. Two great specialized diet options are organic diets and raw diets.
An organic diet is one may take a bit of dedication and work from the pet owner. While there are ready-made organic dog foods available for purchase, many dog owners prefer to prepare their dog’s food with organic ingredients, by following recipes that are much like the recipes used to create human food. While this may require the pet owner to put forth additional effort, an organic diet prepared at home is a great way to ensure that a dog is consuming a nutritious, low fat diet.
Many dog owners also choose to put their dogs on a raw diet. A raw diet is one that does not include any store bought dog food. Raw diets consist solely of raw meats and raw animal bones and allow a dog to consume a diet similar to what it would consume in the wild. Wild dogs do not consume grains, fruits, or vegetables, so these items are generally excluded in a raw diet. Because these diets are very low in carbohydrates, they allow a dog to reach a suitable weight in a healthy way.
How To Safely Put Your Dog On A Diet
The key to safely putting a dog on a diet is to make gradual changes. Instead of suddenly cutting out meals, gradually decrease meals by about a quarter of a cup or less. This will allow the dog to lose weight, without starving or having to make sudden adjustments. Along with decreasing meal size, it is important to limit the dog’s intake of snacks of treats. Table scraps or other treats can easily lead to weight gain and should be closely monitored when a dog is overweight.
In addition to a dog’s diet, simply increasing the amount of exercise a dog gets is key to promoting weight loss. Taking an overweight dog on more frequent walks or allowing him or her more play time with other dogs, is an easy way to help your dog lose weight and also become healthier. By maintaining your dog’s weight, you are not only providing him or her with a healthier life, but a happier and possibly longer life as well.