So you think your dog is fat. In fact, you think he's so fat that he's obese and his health is in danger. Obese dogs have more pronounced health problems and live for a shorter amount of time than average dogs.
There are, however, a few steps you can take to decrease your dog's waistline. Dogs become obese because they, like humans, increase their caloric intake and don't get enough exercise. Here are some tips to slim your dog down:
- Determine who feeds the dog, how much, and when. You'll usually find someone is giving the dog too much food, or too many treats. Instead of treats, you can your dog extra attention (like a walk!).
Reduce your dog's food intake by 1/4 and/or change the dog food your dog eats (though that should only be necessary in fatter dogs). Most studies have shown that decreasing the amount a dog is fed does little, but this can depend on the dog. What works for one pet may not work for another.
It may be necessary to increase the amount of water your dog consumes. Your dog may be prone to dehydration if he eats food with lots of carbs.
If you dog is REALLY obese, you might find switching to a special dog food helpful. These foods are low in fat and high in carbs, so your dog's energy level increases. Also, make sure the food has a high protein content so your dog keeps his muscle.
There are supplements that can aide your dog in losing weight. Learn more about dog supplements here.
Bring your dog to the vet ever 4 to 6 weeks to monitor his progress, health and to adjust his diet plan.
As your dog becomes more and more fit, you may have to reduce your dog's fat intake to maintain your his new shape.
Remember most dogs require an 8 to 12 month plan to get fit. It takes time. If you dog starts to lose weight very rapidly, consult your vet right away.
There are a number of diseases or ailments that could be affecting your dogs weight. These include: diabetes, hypothyroidism, and hyperadrenocorticism. It's important to consult your vet if there are any major or rapid changes in your dog's behavior or habits.
Get started today:
To start your dog on his diet, get in the habit of getting him out to exercise daily. Dogs really do love walks, and a good mile or two mile walk each day is a great way to lose some inches around your dogs waist, and your own. If you can't make it every day, a slightly longer walk every other day works as well. Just be consistent and patient.
If you don't enjoy walking your dog, fetch is another great activity. Throw a ball or play some frisbee with your dog -- any activity that gets him moving. Not only are these activities great exercise, they are a lot of fun and a GREAT way to bond with your dog.
If your obese dog needs more than just extra exercise, there are many companies that manufacture specialty dog food for the "bigger" breed. Some of these foods are:
Eukanuba Restricted Calorie®
Eukanuba Weight Loss Formula®
Hill's Prescription diet r/d®
Waltham Calorie Control®
Purina CNM OM-FORMULA®
IVD Mature® or IVD Hifactor®
With a daily exercise routine, lots of water and the right food, your obese dog will start to lose weight soon. Don't expect too much too soon though, your dog should lose weight gradually over an 8-12 month period.