Do you have a “fluffy” dog at home (nice name for “fat”)? Obesity is defined as an excessive accumulation of fat. It is estimated that 25% of all dogs are considered obese or are likely to become obese. What are the causes for obesity? It’s fairly simple … either eating too many calories or not burning enough calories. Either your dog is eating too much or not exercising enough. Sound familiar? They are exactly like their human counterparts!
The good news is, is that we have control over what our pets eat and how much they eat. So, if you have a “fluffy” dog, what can you do?
1. See your vet to discuss your dog’s weight. Determine what his/her current weight is and what it should be.
2. If your dog is healthy, encourage a little more playtime. Try some new toys that may encourage play. This could be tossing a ball, fetching a stick, swimming or going for a walk. Whatever stimulates your dog is ideal. Start with a few minutes a day and work up to 10 to 15 minutes of playtime two to three times a day.
3. Minimize treats. If you give your dog treats, they should be a supplement to their core high quality diet. Treats may be a source of unnecessary calories in an overweight dog. Try decreasing the frequency or breaking them into smaller pieces so they are eating less of them every day.
4. Consider making your dog’s treats. This way you are able to cut out any extra sugars, salts or preservatives that your dog doesn’t require.
5. If approved by your vet, you can decrease your dog’s daily food intake by up to 25%.
6. Discuss a weight loss diet with your veterinarian. Feeding the same amount of a low calorie food may make your dog feel satisfied and not hungry.
7. Opt for veggies in lieu of store-bought treats. Most dogs enjoy the fresh appeal of carrots, frozen peas (thawed) and green beans.
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