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Chubby Dog - Making Changes To Improve Your Dog's Health

 by petbucket on 09 Jul 2015 |
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Obesity is a growing issue in the human population, and it's not surprising that this problem is also affecting dogs. Experts believe that up to 50 percent of American pets are overweight and susceptible to a variety of health issues. If you are concerned about your dog's increasing chubbiness, there are ways to remedy this common problem.
Health Problems Associated with Obesity
Dogs have many of the same types of health problems associated with obesity that humans have, including:
· Arthritis and joint problems
· High blood pressure
· Heart disease
· Lung function problems
· Diabetes
· Immune system disorders
· Cancerous tumors
Recognizing Obesity in Dogs
Pet owners often don't notice that their dogs are gaining weight until they have a full-blown weight problem on their hands. One way to determine if your dog is carrying too much weight is to feel his ribs and spine. These bones should be easily detectable with just a single layer of fat under the skin. If these bones seem to be pretty well-padded, it may be time to consider a weight management plan for your best buddy. Another way is to look at your dog's body from above. You should be able to see well-defined narrowing at the waist. If the body shape is rounded, with no definition between shoulders and hips, your dog needs to be on a diet. A visit to your veterinarian will give you an opportunity to put your dog on the scale and talk with your vet about the best way to reduce your dog's weight.
Learning Portion Control
The same principles that help people lose weight are also effective for dogs. Portion control can be critical. Because dogs usually eat only once or twice each day, their owners tend to fill the bowl to the brim to ensure that the dog is satisfied. However, this habit can be detrimental to keeping your dog fit. Always measure out the correct amount of dog food at mealtime, as recommended on the bag or by your veterinarian. Your dog may whine for more, but be firm. This discipline will keep him healthier for many years.
Increase Exercise Levels
More exercise will help to burn off the calories, improve muscle tone and provide better mental health for your dog. If you are providing a morning walk for your dog, try addinga long evening walk as well. If time is a problem, hire a dog walker to ensure that your dog gets the exercise he needs. Many dogs benefit from doggie daycare, which provides playtime that burns off excess calories. When you are at home, spend time playing indoors with your dog, in games of fetch or "chase me."
Treats - The Downfall of Doggy Diets
Pet owners often use treats to reward their dog's good behavior or simply to express affection. These extra calories can add up quickly, making weight loss more difficult. Cutting out treats is often an effective way to help many dogs lose those extra pounds. If this is too drastic, try changing to low-calorie treats, like vegetables or rice cakes, to reduce caloric intake.
Those Stubborn Pounds
If your dog fails to lose weight despite your efforts to limit food consumption and increase exercise, it may be because of another health condition. Make an appointment with your vet to have your dog's blood analyzed. These tests can often detect metabolic disorders that can contribute to weight gain, such as thyroid problems or Cushing's disease.
As with people, losing weight requires commitment and consistency. Helping your dog to reach a healthier weight will ensure that he will be around to spend many good times with you.


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