Weight Management for dogs is critical to their long term health. Just like with humans, an overweight condition in our dogs can lead to heart problems, diabetes, arthritis, and many other health issues.
Many of these dog health issues can be eliminated, or at the very least, delayed if our pet’s weight is under control.
I read an article that lists 5 steps to aid in weight management in dogs. It is entitled, “Keep your dog trim and healthy” and is written by Christie Long, also known as the Pet Doctor. Ms. Long is a veterinarian at the VCA Fort Collins Animal Hospital.
If your dog is overweight, the author recommends that you feed your dog less than what is shown on the dog food label. My suggestion is to monitor your dog’s weight by feeling its ribs. This can be done on a weekly basis.
If you cannot feel the ribs, your dog is definitely overweight. You can take your dog to the vet to get a doctor’s suggestions. As the author recommends, you can reduce the food you set out by 25% of what is shown on the dog food label. Continue to monitor your dog’s weight in this way on a weekly basis.
If you only feel your dog’s ribs, your dog does not have a weight problem. You probably need to increase the amount of food you are feeding.
You should feel a thin layer of skin over the ribs. This indicates that your dog is at the proper weight. Do this weight check each week.
Always feed the best quality dog food. Not doing this is a huge and costly mistake.
Here is a quote from the article:
A pound or two or of weight gain might be insignificant to most people, but in a small animal it’s a pretty big deal. Whether you have known or suspected for a while that your dog is overweight, or it’s taken you by surprise, like me, resolve to get the new year off to a healthy start with these five weight loss tips:
1. Ask your veterinarian whether your overweight dog might have an underactive thyroid gland. Hypothyroidism is a common cause of lethargy and weight gain in middle-aged dogs. Subnormal amounts of thyroid hormone result in a slower metabolism, which leads to weight gain. Diagnosis is made with a blood test, and the disease is relatively easily treated with supplementary thyroid medication.
2. Feed your dog less than what the food bag recommends. I always tell people that pet food bags are like shampoo bottles, which advise “lather, rinse, repeat” to get us to use more shampoo. If your dog is overweight, start by feeding about 20 percent less. If your dog’s not satisfied with the new feeding regimen, consider adding some no-salt canned green beans for extra fiber. Prescription weight loss foods also can be helpful, as they contain more fiber to help dogs feel fuller while getting fewer calories.
The entire article can be read here. The author has listed 3 other steps that I did mention above.
As the author says, physical exercise is an important part of your dog’s weight management program. The dog owner must understand before he/she buys a dog that the dog must be exercised. I have read articles that state that a dog must get 1-2 hours of exercise each day. That’s an awful lot.
I recommend close to 1 hour of exercise each day. An hour of exercise for your dog probably means an hour of exercise for the dog owner. The dog and the owner both win in this situation.
If you have any questions, please contact me toll-free at 877-878-4036 or by email at ScottHubbard@ProductsForPetHealth.com
How important to you is weight management for dogs? I greatly appreciate any comments you have.