Canine Weight Loss
How to tell if your dog is overweight
Obesity is among the most serious health problems for todays canine. Overweight dogs are unhappy dogs and this article will share with you, how to tell if your dog is overweight, ideas on how to reduce your dogs weight, and how to maintain the weight loss.
Genetic make up, the dog is not as energetic as it once was, other health problems, are all causes of obesity in dogs. Identifying if your dog has a health problem that causes them to gain weight is the first step in figuring out how to take the weight off. Working closely with your vet you can determine a proper diet and exercise program to take off those unwanted pounds.
How can you tell if your dog is overweight?
In order to get an accurate assessment on your dogs weight you should check three areas. The ribs, neck and hips. Some dogs carry their fat in different places. Older dogs for example carry a lot of their fat in their neck area. Some in their hips and others along their sides. By checking all three areas you cover your bases and get a better picture about your dogs weight.
Checking the ribs: Standing over top your dog with them securely between your legs, place both thumbs on the spine. Now slowly run your fingers along their rib cage on both sides. You should be able to feel the bones of the ribs without any pressure. If you have to increase your pressure to feel the rib bones your dog is overweight.
Checking the neck: Push your index finger and your thumb deep into the side of your dogs neck. Now try to touch your finger and thumb together at the tips. If your finger and thumb are more than a quarter inch apart your dog is overweight.
Checking the hips: Run your hand over your dogs back end. You should be able to feel the two pelvic bones without pressing in. If you have to use pressure to feel the bones your dog is overweight.
How much weight should they lose?
My answer to this question is, how fit do you want your dog? Almost all the dogs I've seen are slightly overweight, even when conditioned. If you need your dog to perform in a sport or other activity they may need to lose as much as 10 pounds. If you want them in fit, well defined shape, losing 5-8 lbs may be all that is needed.
Personally, I recommend consulting a canine sports doctor and getting their opinion. They specialize in active dogs and can give you detailed advice on how to condition your dog and get them to a reliable and safe weight.
1. Bike riding
4. Long walks
5. Play sessions
These are just a few ideas to get you started.
Diet and Obesity
In a perfect world simply decreasing the amount of food your dog eats and increasing the amount of exercise your dog gets each day would result in a perfectly healthy dog. Unfortunately we don't live in a perfect world and outside factors can interfere. You may work and not have time to properly exercise your dog. Your dog may have a health problem. Genetics may play a role in your dogs obesity. Many factors can contribute to the overall problem. However, changing the diet and providing a balanced meal for your dog is essential to losing weight.
I feed my dogs by "eye balling" the amounts. I don't feed what the bag recommends and I would suggest you didn't either. Bag recommendations are much greater than what a properly exercised dog needs. If you dog isn't that active what they bag suggests is far to much food.
Feed as much as is needed to maintain your dogs weight. This takes time to figure out so be patient and experiment with different amounts.
Yet another reason dogs are overweight is because people feed the same amount of dog food as they did when their dog was a pup. Adult dogs should not eat as much as they did when they were puppies therefore cutting the amount is recommended.
You can cut the amount of food down by supplementation. For example, say you feed your dog 2 cups of dog food per day. Cutting that in half, only feeding one cup, and then using a healthy substitute in place of the other cup is an effective way to reduce your dogs food without it getting hungry. You can supplement pumpkin mix in place of one cup of food. Get the kind that is plain and not ready for baking as this contains spices. If your dog doesn't like pumpkin try yogurt or vegetables.
Obesity is a serious problem and needs to be addressed immediately. If you find your dog is overweight, get them checked out by the vet and get on a diet program to reduce and maintain a healthy weight. Your dog will live a longer happier life as a result.