The number of overweight dogs in the United States is alarming. It is estimated that 56% of all dogs in America are either overweight or obese. The bad news is that the excessive weight comes with a bevy of health complications for our furry friends. An overweight dog is likely to suffer from diabetes, arthritis, cancerous tumors, high blood pressure, heart disease, and immune dysfunction. Helping your dog reach its ideal weight can improve and extend its life, and these tips will help your dog shed excess weight.
- Feed your dog more protein and cut back on carbohydrates
Food and exercise are the most important factors when it comes to weight loss for your pet. However, food is more important for a pet owner looking to manage or reduce the weight of their pet. If you want to help your dog lose weight, then you must limit the number of daily calories. The best way to do that is to switch to a high-protein, low-carb food. Don’t be tempted to cut down on carbs completely, as it can do more harm than good. Feed your pet dog food with grain in moderation; grains are a good source of carbohydrates and other nutrients.
- Ensure your dog has access to drinking water
If there is no water, your dog will turn to food when it’s thirsty. Make sure your dog’s water bowl is always full, and look for signs of dehydration which include, dry gums, excessive drooling, wobbly legs, and heavy panting. Apart from helping in weight loss, good hydration has other health benefits like softer skin.
- Reduce its food portion
Reducing your dog’s food portion is another effective weight loss solution. You shouldn’t make drastic changes all at once, though. First, cut back the portion by about 5% and check your dog’s weight after a week or two. If it is yet to lose weight, cut another 5%. If they have lost weight after two weeks, keep feeding it that amount.
This strategy is recommended because making drastic changes to the amount of food you feed your dog may change its metabolism, making it difficult to shed excess weight. For long-term success, slow and steady weight loss is recommended.
- Make your dog’s weight loss journey a family project
Measure everything and note it down on your dog’s food log or diet book to help family members know how much your furry friend is eating. Cutting down your dog’s food portion during dinner won’t help if your dog is getting training treats all day, breakfast leftovers, and evening snacks. Let everyone who feeds the dog know the diet plan and get their cooperation.
- Increase daily exercises
Although food is important, this list would not be complete without exercise. Increase your dog’s physical activities. Take your dog for regular walks, play hide and seek, dog tag, and try resistance walk on shallow water, sand, and rough surfaces.
These are easy ways to help your dog lose weight. For best results, consult a veterinarian for an appropriate weight loss diet and schedule.