Much like their humans, overweight dogs are at risk for serious health issues, including heart disease, hip dysplasia and cancer.
What’s more, a study has shown that dogs that were fed 25 per cent fewer calories than their litter mates lived almost two years longer and showed fewer visible signs of aging. If your pooch is overweight, here are three ways to help it shed some pounds.
1.) RETHINK THEIR DIET
To help your dog lose weight, feed it two controlled portions a day instead of filling its bowl with kibbles and allowing it to graze all day. Ask your veterinarian about the best food for your dog and follow their recommended guidelines for portions. Dogs thrive when fed a high-protein and low-carbohydrate diet that includes fresh veggies. Don’t neglect to provide your dog with a source of clean, fresh water. Like humans, some dogs may confuse thirst for hunger.
2.) MAKE SURE IT’S GETTING ENOUGH EXERCISE
While many senior dogs aren’t as active as they once were, it’s important that they still get daily exercise. If you’re trying to help your dog lose excess weight, aim to give it at least half an hour of vigorous exercise every day. This can include playing fetch or going for a brisk walk. Swimming is a particularly good choice for overweight dogs that have arthritis or other joint problems.
3.) CUT DOWN ON TREATS
Many dog treats are high in calories and feeding Fido too many may be contributing to his weight problems. What’s more, many people feed their dogs table scraps, which isn’t always healthy. Instead of rewarding your dog’s good behaviour with treats, give him praise, rubs and extra play time.
HOW TO TELL IF YOUR DOG IS A HEALTHY WEIGHT
While every dog will have a different optimal weight, there are ways to tell if your dog is the right size. You should be able to feel its ribs when you run your hand down its sides, but only the last one or two should be slightly visible through the skin. Furthermore, when you look at your dog from above, there should be a visible waist before the hips.
CONTACT US FOR TOP-QUALITY VETERINARY SERVICE IN THE GTA
If you’re worried about your dog’s health or weight one of our vets at Bellamy-Lawrence Animal Hospital can help. Our clinic in Toronto offers comprehensive veterinary care for dogs and cats. Contact us today to make an appointment.