The number of overweight dogs in the United States shockingly increased to 56% in 2017 according to the Association for Pet Obesity prevention (APOP). The percentage of pets with weight problems has seen a steady increase year after year, as it continues reaching alarming rates – mirroring similar rates in humans.
Weight problems in pets can lead to high blood pressure, diabetes, and an onslaught of other health issues. How does one manage a pet that has either been diagnosed as overweight or is headed down this path?
Proper Daily Nutrition
What you put in your dog's bowl is a main cause of their weight problems. Many owners are unaware of the sub par ingredients found in many commercial dry and canned pet foods. Just as we are affected by what we eat, feeding your pup a nutritious and balanced food that contains whole food and natural ingredients is important. Opting in for foods with highly metabolized ingredients such as chickpeas is a great to lean up a pup with weight issues. Keep away from fatty foods that can contain meals and other by-products.
When feeding your pup, make sure that you are feeding them the amount of their goal weight instead of what they are currently at – a common mistake that is a quick fix. Consult with your pet's veterinarian on what their goal weight should be based on breed, age, and other factors. You can find food calculators online that will allow you to set a goal weight and enter your pup's food's calories per cup to achieve a food measurement based on caloric intake.
Another large contributor towards weight management is getting a healthy amount of exercise. Your pup could be eating fewer calories, but they won't be burning many calories if they are at home sedentary. Pups need to work out too, albeit, not as intensely as humans. Make exercise fun for them by playing with them outside with their favorite activities such as fetch, walking, or running around.
Managing how many treats you feed your pet throughout the day is an easy way to trim down a few pounds. One or two treats a day won't hurt, but if you are giving them more than that, you need to factor the amount of calories and fat in the treats into their daily nutrient intake or it could lead to overeating. Looking for low calorie treats is a great way of treating your pup in moderation.
It is recommended that you consult your pet's veterinarian before making any strict dietary changes if your pet suffers from any conditions. These tips are meant to be insightful and do not substitute professional medical suggestions.