How To Keep Your Dog Fit, Not Fat
Sure, it’s adorable to see a chubby dog and stroke and hug him because of his pudgy cuteness. Unfortunately, though, that excess fat you find so loveable also indicates your furry pal is suffering from obesity.
Dogs who lack exercise and are over-nourished are the ones mostly at risk of becoming obese. Although a few extra pounds don’t always mean an instant death sentence for your beloved pooch, being overweight can still affect his lifespan.
What are the symptoms of obesity?
- Extra body fat
- Excessive weight gain
- The unwillingness or inability to go for a walk or engage in physical activity
- Breathlessness even after just a short walk around the neighborhood
- Above the ideal score in body fat assessment done by the vet
Do your best to maintain your dog at a healthy weight to lengthen the time you have together. You should also be aware of what diseases and conditions contribute to dog obesity.
Below are three helpful tips to help you trim down your dog’s weight without making him feel in any way deprived.
1. Know your dog’s ideal weight
Most pet parents have no idea about their dog’s ideal weight. A canine’s ideal weight is not based on a number but on a certain ratio. Whether it’s a small or large breed, your vet can advise you on the right weight that your pup should maintain.
During a visit to the clinic, your vet will weigh your dog and give you recommendations on how you can manage his daily regimen until you get him to a healthy weight..
2. Change your dog’s diet
There are many reasons why a dog is overweight and changing your pet’s food doesn’t necessarily mean you’re changing his diet. Usually, the quantity of food is the problem. Avoid giving table scraps even if your dog begs for it. Don’t fall for those big innocent dog eyes; remember, it’s for his own good.
Every pooch has a different body and recommended activity levels which you should consider when you’ve been advised to manage his diet. It’s best to have a feeding schedule so that you can control the amount of food that your dog eats daily.
Cut back on calorie intake
Too many calories with little energy consumption can result to one round doggie! The first step to your dog losing weight is by reducing his calorie intake. Most commercial pet foods contain fillers that are high in calories.
Consider switching to high-quality pet food, and pay attention to the portions you are giving your pup to prevent him from overeating.
3. Avoid rewarding your dog with food
It’s quite possible that you’re giving away too many treats in a day. Although it’s quite tempting to toss a bone to your dog because he’s being cute, or if he’s performed a special trick, doing so may result to overfeeding.
It’s okay to use food as a reward during training, but be sure to use healthy dog treats with high-protein ingredients.
Unless he earns it, don’t give him a treat. You can also introduce a non-food reward such as a round of fetch instead of tossing unhealthy French fries at him. If you can’t prevent your family members from giving dog treats under the table, simply cut back on kibble in the bowl.
4. Let your dog have fun
Going to the gym may feel like a chore to humans, but for dogs, it’s quite fun! Let your pooch have fun through exercise to make him lose weight and keep his brain active.
- Aim for 15 minutes of exercise activities for two times in a day.
- Increase activity slowly by extending morning and evening walks for a few blocks. As your dog starts becoming fit, you can increase the pace and distance.
- If you are immobile, a game such as fetch will get your pooch moving even if you stay still.
- When he’s playing or doing exercises, give your dog plenty of water to prevent dehydration.
Remember, too, that exercise should be more than just a short walk in the park. A game of frisbee or fetch should count as part of his exercise regimen.
Try interactive toys
Some dogs are just too lazy to run and work for their food. But with interactive dog toys like puzzles and squeaky toys, you can catch his interest while providing some good mental and physical workout.
Weight loss doesn’t happen overnight. You have to be understanding of your dog’s condition and have enough patience in tracking his progress. After all, canines suffering from extreme obesity need more time to lose weight.
Like humans, it takes time for a dog to get in shape. But with gradual changes to your dog’s diet and consistent exercise, you can promote good health.
Farah Al-Khojai is the Managing Partner of Pet’s Delight. A passionate entrepreneur, Farah holds a Bsc in Government from the London School of Economics. She is always on the lookout for new opportunities to develop and grow the pet and equestrian retail and wholesale market in the UAE and beyond, and is proud to be at the helm of the first and the largest pet care provider in the market representing world-class brands including Origen, Applaws, Hunter, Savic, Flamingo, Ruffwear and Rogz.