Just like their human owners, dogs need to be careful with their weight. For an overweight dog, there is an increased risk of developing arthritis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure and certain forms of cancer. As a dog owner, you’re the one responsible for their diet, so it’s all down to you to make sure they don’t become overweight. It is, however, easy for a dog’s weight to get out of control, but don’t worry because there are things you can do to help them shed those extra pounds.
There are three areas you need to concentrate on:
- Increase the Amount of Exercise Your Dog Gets
If your dog is not used to being exercised every day, this is something you need to introduce gradually. To turn your pooch from couch potato to enthusiastic walker will take several weeks. Start with 10 minutes of exercise several times a week until the goal of 30 minutes every day is reached.
Don’t stress if you haven’t got the time for such a regular commitment. There will be a dog walking service in your area. If you live in London, NW3, for example, opt for a professional dog walker Hampstead. Walking isn’t the only form of exercise either. Play ball with them or take them swimming.
- Change the Way You Feed Your Dog
Think about how, when and where you feed your dog, as this can be a contributing factor in them being overweight. Ideally, all meals and treats should be fed to them in their dog bowls as this allows you to regulate what they eat. Try to keep them out of food preparation areas and where you eat your meals as this will remove the temptation to feed them human food.
- Restrict Your Dogs Calorie Intake
You might think calorie counting is just for humans but cutting down the number of calories they consume is an essential first step. If they regularly beg for food, respond by petting, exercising or playing with them rather than handing out the treats. If you can’t help but give them treats, remember to reduce your dog’s regular meals to compensate. The best treats to give your dog are low-calorie treats or healthier alternatives such as veggies or fruit.
Knowing how much to feed your dog can be confusing. After all, don’t all dog food brands provide you with recommendations? The problem with the manufacturer’s recommendation is that is has been devised for a specific type of dog — namely, one that’s active, un-spayed or un-neutered, and of average age. If your dog doesn’t fit this ideal, then you’re overfeeding them, possibly by as much as 20 or 30%.
It’s the sole responsibility of an owner to help their dog maintain a healthy weight. It’s all down to you to ensure they eat a healthy, nutritious diet and enjoy regular exercise. If you’re able to commit to this, then your dog has many healthy and happy years ahead of them!