According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 55 percent of dogs are considered overweight or obese. For an animal that doesn’t feed himself, that number seems astounding. So what is it that’s making our dogs fat?
If your dog is taking prescription drugs, try to think back and remember if the weight gain started around the same time as the drug. If so, first try and cut back on food slightly, followed by stepping up the exercise. If this doesn’t work, you will need to take your dog back to the veterinarian to see if you can possibly switch the medication or at least lower the dosage in order to prevent further weight gain.
As disgusting as it is to us, dogs tend to love warm, moist feces for dessert. Be it their own, other dogs’ or even a cat or rabbit’s, some dogs will eat just about anything. Keep litter boxes away from dogs, block off any holes in your backyard fence to prevent rabbits or other animals from coming in, and call your dog back inside immediately after they relieve themselves. Getting your dog out of the habit of eating anything other than their own food will help ensure a longer life, one that points away from obesity.
Spaying or neutering
Dogs’ metabolisms are just like ours; they slow down as they age. Spaying or neutering a middle-aged dog can enhance this affect as it also causes the metabolism to slow. Though spaying or neutering is unavoidable, changing the dogs’ diet is completely in your control. When the dog reaches middle-age (between 5 and 7 years), it’s time to start cutting back the food.
So, what can I do to help my dog lose weight?
First and foremost, change the diet. Start measuring out your dog’s food instead of just guessing. Cut out all table food and unhealthy treats and substitute carrots, ice cubes, broccoli or green beans. Give your dog 15 minutes of your time each day for exercise. Go for a walk around the block, take a trip to the dog park, or even just toss a ball back and forth in your yard. Fifteen minutes of exercise each day may be all it takes to get your dog back to a healthy weight. Finally, track the dog’s weight to ensure he’s losing, and if he’s still not, it’s time to see the veterinarian.