Weight Management For Dogs

fat-dog

A great many of our pet dogs are suffering from the problem of  being overweight.  If you cannot feel the rib cage on your dog with only a thin layer of fat on it then your dog is overweight or may even be obese.  A dog who is more than 15% above his ideal weight is considered obese.

You can check your dog’s weight by using a baby scale if the dog is small.  You can weigh yourself on your home scale then weigh yourself a second time while holding  your pet.  The difference between the two readings on the scale will equal the dog’s weight.  The veterinarian’s office can weigh your dog when he goes for his visits.

It’s easy for a dog to gain weight if he gets very little exercise, is fed portions which are too large and receives treats throughout the day.  When you are working to reduce your dog’s weight you need to be careful of the total number of calories he is receiving daily.  This means you have to get your family, friends and neighbors to either stop giving the dog treats or they need to let you know so these treats can be included in the calorie count for the day.  Ideally, treats will be strictly limited to allow enough calories for healthy food.

fat-dog-going-nowhere

Your veterinarian can give you the number of calories your dog should be consuming to lose weight.  There are also sites online which can give you a calorie guideline.

The easiest way to reduce the dog’s daily calories may be to simply decrease the portion size of his meals.  The dog will probably whine and cry for awhile about the smaller portions.  If you give in to his whining he will continue to be overweight.

There are diet dog foods and lite dog foods available.  Some of these are low in protein and high in fiber fillers.  They may make the dog feel full for a short period of time only.  You can purchase dog foods which are lower in calories while still providing a good amount of protein, lower fat content and lower carbohydrate content.  Your vet can be an excellent resource when you are trying to determine how to help your dog slim down.

As a last resort there is medication for dogs which gives them a feeling of being full while eating less.

A dog who is overweight or obese can develop many health problems.  Overweight dogs are at a greater risk for diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, orthopedic problems and may have trouble breathing.  They are at greater risk for developing  many other physical problems as well.  Being overweight can shorten the life span of your pet.

It really is not fair to your dog for you to allow him to be overweight and unhealthy.  Normally diet and increased exercise will be enough for your dog to slowly lose weight.  If after following this regime your dog is not lowering his weight your veterinarian may do blood work to check for an underlying cause such as a thyroid problem.