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Is your dog walking with a little too much waddle? Reduce your dog’s excess weight in a controlled manner.
All dog owners know how it feels to have your furry companion look up at you with their big eyes and feel your resolve crumble. Usually this ends with a treat and a belly rub. Unfortunately, these extra snacks can pile on excess weight and make your dog sluggish.
There are health risks associated with this increased body weight: fat dogs will become more susceptible to cardiovascular disease, bone and joint problems, respiratory illness, diabetes, fatty liver or a whole range of issues that are caused by excess weight.
Here are 4 areas to monitor to keep your dog in the best of health:
1. Know when they are overweight
One sign of an overweight dog is a decrease in movement. If your dog gets out of breath quickly, seek veterinarian advice. Another way to tell if your dog is overweight is by feeling their ribs. The rib bones should be easy to examine with a flat hand. At the base of the tail you should be able to feel the bones under the skin and fur. In a thin dog, the hips are clearly visible along the spine.
2. Watch their diet
Often the cause for a dog being overweight is their diet. Many dogs have no sense of satiety and keep eating long after they should. This combined with extra treats can lead to obesity. If you notice that your dog is getting bigger, reduce the amount of food they eat.
Lack of exercise and a slow metabolism can also be leading factors in canine weight gain. Regular walks and play can help reduce the risk of obesity. Diseases such as hyperfunction of the thyroid gland or adrenal hyperfunction may cause rapid weight gain. It is advisable to visit the vet if your dog is severely overweight so they can examine and determine the cause of the excess pounds.
4. Change the routine
If the vet has determined that your dog is overweight but has ruled out diseases as the cause, you must reduce their calorie intake. That being said, dog owners should not starve their four-legged friends. Pay attention to their diet and the quantity you feed them.
An increase in physical activity is the second helper in the fight against excess fat. When increasing your dog’s physical activity, start slowly and build up the duration of their exercise. If your dog likes to swim, take them to the sea or lake and play fetch. Alternatively, take them to a park where they can play with other dogs.