Pudgy Pooches – Is Your Dog Overweight?
Is your pooch pudgy? Should he go on a diet? Many owners don’t really notice that their canine friends are gaining too much weight. Being with them every day, we may not really notice the changes that are taking place.
Experts estimate that 25 to 40 percent of dogs in North America are overweight (more than 20 percent heavier than their ideal weight). The more excess weight a dog carries, the higher the risk to his health. Some of these dangers include high blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, heart and liver ailments, spinal problems and breathing difficulties.
There are some very basic observations you can make to determine if your dog is getting too fat. When standing over your dog do you see an hourglass shape? If so, then he probably doesn’t have a major weight problem. However, if you see his sides protruding, then its quite likely that your dog is overweight.
When petting your dog, run your hand along your dog’s ribs. If they can be easily felt then he’s probably not overweight. However, if you have to press hard to feel the ribs then your dog needs a lifestyle change.
Its a good idea to take your dog to your veterinarian before making any major changes to his diet. Consult with the vet for additional tips and to ensure that your diet plan will still include essential nutrients the dog needs.
One thing is certain: eliminating high calorie treats and table scraps is an important first step.
Taking your dog for daily walks and providing regular play and exercise will help both you and your dog.
Substitute low calorie goodies for higher calorie treats. A few healthy snacks include carrots, apples, green beans, cottage cheese and broccoli. And yes, in most cases, your dog will eagerly devour them. You may also want to prepare your own nutritious dog treats at home.
Just as it is for adult humans, adult dogs don’t lose weight quickly or easily. A proper low calorie, healthy diet will result in a very gradual weight loss.
When it comes to puppies, it is very important that you monitor your pups food intake. Undeniably, it’s hard to resist those puppy dog eyes, but, over the long haul, its one of the best things you can do for your pup.
Most veterinarians agree that puppies should be fed only dog food that is specifically formulated for puppies. Initially feeding should be four times a day for approximately three months. Then reduce feedings to three times a day for the next three months and after six months, switch to twice a day. Then, at one year of age, switch to once daily feeding. At that time you should also make the switch to adult dog food, and monitor his weight on a regular basis.
You’ll find that once your dog is at a proper weight he will be happier and more energetic. Unfortunately, we sometimes simply fail to pay attention and don’t realize the impact that our feeding decisions have on their overall health and longevity.