Your Pet’s Weight Matters
Overweight dog? Just like with humans, the primary cause of overweight dogs is too much food and too little exercise. Obesity presents cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and digestive dangers to your dog’s health while also increasing the risk for diabetes, arthritis, fatigue and heat intolerance. In an overweight dog, the body structure ages prematurely and can reduce the lifespan of your dog.
Checking Your Dog for Weight Gain
By monitoring changes in your dog’s body, you can identify additional pounds early.
A Few Areas To Check
- Run your hand over your dog’s hips. You should feel the bumps of two pelvic bones without applying pressure.
- Place your thumbs on your dog’s back and run them along the backbone with your fingers over the ribs. You should be able to feel the bumps of the ribs without applying any pressure. If you can see the ribs or they are protruding, your dog is too thin.
- Push your thumb and index finger into the flesh at the side of the neck above the shoulder and pinch together. Your fingers should not be more than a half inch apart.
- When you look at your dog from the side, the abdomen should not be hanging down
- When looking at your dog from above, you should be able to see a waist behind the ribs
Making Changes to Reduce Obesity Risk
The first step is to consult your veterinarian. He or she will be able to provide you with a detailed feeding and exercise plan if necessary. Ask about regular follow-ups to ensure the plan is working.
Steps To Take To Reduce The Obesity Risk
- Don’t misinterpret an empty bowl as an empty stomach. Even if your dog “cleans their plate”, make sure you are controlling portions appropriately.
- Make time for extended exercise. Playtime alone or outside is not enough. Schedule a play session or a long walk to help keep your dog’s muscles toned.
- Pay attention to the fat and calorie content in the food you buy. Fats are an energy source, but excess fat adds pound quickly. Similarly, look for low calorie diets that offer the same quality ingredients found in higher calorie foods.
- Don’t let your dog snack on your table scraps.
To promote your own health along with the health of your dog, explore ways that you and your dog can exercise together. Some canine breeds can be great company for a long walk or jog.
Contributed by Pet First Health Care