Just like much of the human population in the United States, obesity levels amongst man’s best friend are on the rise. While spoiling your pampered pooch with an extra-large serving of kibble might seem tempting, obesity in dogs is a serious medical problem. Overweight doggies are at risk for a wide array of different health issues, including greater risk of injury and unnecessary stress on their vital organs and joints. These issues can lead to serious complications, and in some instances death.
Unfortunately, determining whether or not your precious pup is overweight can be challenging. Just as perceptions about human size have changed over the past several years, heavy pets have become the norm for many owners. As the standards for dog size are not always clear cut, determining whether or not Fido has an obesity problem can be a weighty issue.
If you own a purebred dog, one of the best standards for determining whether or not your pup is overweight is to compare his weight to the breed standard. In the United States, the breed standards of the American Kennel Club, which serves as the registry for purebred dogs, are the most respected. These standards demand certain height and weight requirements for each dog, and are a good measure for whether or not your dog is healthy.
Owners of dogs with mixed ancestry may have more difficulty in pinpointing obesity issues in their dog. Fortunately, several different methods for determining whether or not your doggie has grown too big exist. One of the easiest ways to check this is to attempt to feel the dog’s ribs, using only the flat of your hand. If the fat covering his ribs prevents you from touching them easily, you’re dog is likely malnourished. For a more accurate understanding of your dog’s weight, consider consulting with your veterinarian.
If you discover that your dog is indeed overweight, several different steps can be taken to help him lose weight. Developing a diet plan with your vet will allow you to set a target weight for your dog, and determine how many calories he needs to consume daily. Just like humans, weight loss in dogs means a combination of both diet and exercise. You’ll need to establish a daily exercise routine, in order to ensure that your dog is burning any excess calories in his diet.
In addition to diet and exercise, you’ll want to make certain to curb any unwanted dietary behaviors. If you own multiple animals, make certain to feed them at the same time, in order to prevent your overweight dog from stealing food. You’ll likely want to keep him in another room while your family enjoys dinner as well, as this will eliminate any begging for table scraps.
Helping your dog lose weight can be a frustrating process, but the benefits are well worth the effort. A healthier dog means you’ll have years left to enjoy his company. Furthermore, the healthier your dog is, that happier he’ll be in your home.