Obesity is a common problem that most pet parents have to manage these days. Not only is it an inconvenience as it won’t let your dog enjoy life as they are supposed to, but it also increases the risk of them developing a number of potentially serious conditions.
Obese pets are more likely to develop diabetes, heart disease, as well as high blood pressure. If your mate weighs more than they should, all that weight is also putting a lot of pressure on their joints, which could lead to osteoarthritis as time goes by.
In today’s article, we’re looking at several convenient and effective ways of helping your dog lose weight.
Cut down the carbs
More and more commercial diets now contain carbs instead of a lot of protein, which dogs should, first and foremost, consume. While it might be true that they are not obligate carnivores like cats, protein should still make up the largest portion of dogs’ diets.
One way of making sure that your dog loses weight and still gets the nutrients they need is to carefully look at the label of the food you’re giving them. Ingredients such as corn or wheat have no place in a healthy diet for dogs.
Low-carb, high-protein diets are much better. If you find it difficult to purchase the right brand, you can even make your own dog food at home, thanks to the variety of tutorials that exist online these days.
Use veggies as treats
Dogs love treats, and they’re important as they can help you train and reward your pooch when they behave. But there are healthy and unhealthy treats, and every person who’s ever tried to lose weight knows this.
Dogs also love human food, a number of which can be harmful to them as they might contain salt, spices, or other seasonings, and they can more often than not have too many calories than a dog needs.
Instead of giving your dog a bite of your slice of pizza, try to find out what veggies they like. While cucumbers might seem completely unappealing, some dogs actually like munching on them every once in a while. Cold veggies can make a great snack on a hot summer’s day.
Try to avoid using (too much) fruit as treats even though dogs do love them. They can contain a lot of sugar that adds to the daily caloric intake your furry mate should have.
Small and frequent meals
Instead of free feeding your canine friend, you should try to split up the entire quantity of food they’re supposed to have daily into three or even six small meals.
Besides keeping your dog full throughout the day, this technique can also help prevent serious health problems such as volvulus (also known as bloat). A ravenous dog can eat a huge amount of food without even realising that they could get sick.
If you don’t have the time to feed your canine companion that often, as perhaps you might not be at home all day, you can invest in a good-quality automatic feeder. Keep in mind that programmable automatic models are better than gravity ones as they can be used to release a specific amount of kibble at set times during the day.
If you decrease the amount of food that your dog should have every day by just 5-7%, you’ll gradually see changes in your pet’s weight.
If your dog is already overweight, they might find it a bit hard to go on long walks or run for a long time.
But whether they’re obese or not, all dogs love to play and spend time with their owners. You can use this to your advantage and take your dog out to the park as often as possible.
Use interesting and visually appealing toys such as our CHASE: Glow in the Dark Toy or the ROCKET: Glow in the Dark Toy. If you don’t have any spare time during the day to play with your mate, these two accessories can come in handy for night-time play sessions in the garden or the park.
Find the right supplements
Some supplements, such as omega 3 fatty acids and L-carnitine, can help your dog lose weight without being detrimental to your pet’s health in any way.
However, deciding to add them to your dog’s diet is not going to do any wonders if you do not make the necessary changes in terms of food and exercise.
Keep your expectations realistic. Your dog has to lose weight in a sustainable and healthy way, even though it may take several months. Losing weight fast isn’t healthy for humans or pets, so keep that in mind.
You also have to consider several other factors, such as your dog’s age and health status. Senior dogs have a harder time losing weight compared to adults because they might suffer from chronic conditions but also because they have a much slower metabolism.
If your dog is recovering from trauma or surgery and can’t move properly, you can’t expect them to be overly enthusiastic about running around all day.