Dogs are so adorable that you can get tempted to give them treats for every good behavior that they show you. A roll on their stomach, cute gaze, or welcoming you when you arrive are all great ways for your pets to show their love and trust for you.
Over time though, these little treats can translate to extra weight for your pets that they may end up 5, 10, even 20 pounds overweight for their size. This additional weight can look cute, but it is very damaging to your pets. Every extra weight carries with it an added vulnerability to illness that your pets can easily avoid should they maintain a standard size. Lifestyle diseases include arthritis, breathing difficulties, diabetes, endocrine disorders, and heart, kidney, and liver disease. Unfortunately, as is true with humans, being overweight also shortens the life of any pet.
A survey by the U.S. Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) showed that 53% of adult dogs are overweight or obese.
It is, therefore, crucial for owners to be on guard when their dogs steadily lean on the heavy side. Being overweight is evident, especially when pets become increasingly lazy and lethargic. They also get tired easily, heavily panting after a short walk that they would have carried on with ease before. These may be visible signs, but the best way to check is with a veterinarian. Based on your pet’s height, age, and breed, a vet can help you out in setting a goal for the number of pounds your pet must lose.
How can you help your pets lose weight without being too harsh on them? How can they manage this new lifestyle without feeling sick and down?
Here are a few tips so you can help your pets get back in shape:
- Be strict on the eating schedule
By sticking to a strict diet plan, your pets get to have a steadier metabolism and a more consistent digestion. Never give snacks because they ruin the appetite, and these can also make your pets eat out of habit and not out of need. Try not to get swayed by your pets’ needy eyes when they ask for snacks. This healthy routine may take some time for your pets to get used to, but it is worth it in the long run.
- Join your pets in exercise
Like you, your pets wouldn’t have that much motivation to be active without you being interested in the activity as well. Have an exercise schedule that you should stick to every day. Your pets will get wired-up when you make it a daily habit for them to keep active. Pets love to exercise, and so in time, they will continue to look forward to your outdoor activities together. Do not jump into long-duration activities so fast. Consider your pet’s age and health conditions. Over-exercising may turn out detrimental for them. Be sure to consult with your veterinarian before having your pet engage in daily exercise.
- Re-evaluate your pets’ meals
Check the food that you regularly give your pets, and evaluate them: are they healthy enough? Do they have enough proteins? Do they contain too many carbohydrates and fats? You may have to overhaul your pets’ meals by swapping their high-carbohydrate diet, to something more low fat and rich in proteins, vitamins, and minerals. If your pets have never tried eating fruits and vegetables, you can start introducing these to their diet. Be cautious, though. There are certain foods unsafe for dogs. You should also consider giving vitamins to your pets as with now fewer calories, they may initially feel weak and lethargic. You must offer them the support they need during this tough transition period.
We know you love your pets, and one way of showing them your love is by making sure they are healthy, happy, and energetic. Help your dogs lose weight by following these tips: 1) Be strict on their eating schedule; 2) Join your pets in exercise; and, 3) Re-evaluate your pets’ meals. By following these points, you can ensure a longer and more fulfilling life for your furry friends.
The Dublin Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals. Obesity in Pets.