If your dog has packed on a few pounds over the past few months, or has been carrying around some extra weight for a while, you may want to consider a 2016 weight loss resolution for your four-legged friend! While some people consider pudgy puppies to be adorable, the truth of the matter is that obesity is just as much of a danger to dogs as it is to humans.Obesity is actually a very real problem among dogs; according to a recent survey of veterinarians, these professionals believed that 97% of obese canines got that way as a result of the care they received from their owners. Whether this is in the form of over-feeding, giving too many treats, or not providing enough exercise, the fact remains – many dog owners can do more to help their dogs lead a healthier lifestyle.
Problems Caused by Canine Obesity
Being overweight can lead to numerous adverse health effects in dogs, including, but not limited to:
Arthritis / Joint Problems
Just like in humans, obesity can cause both short- and long-term consequences in pets. Fortunately, there are many things that you as a dog owner can do to help improve your pet’s quality of life and help see that he or she is healthy.
Tips for Helping Your Pup Shed Some Pounds
By changing just a few aspects of your dog’s lifestyle, you can help make vast improvements in his or her life and overall health. A few easy tips you can incorporate into your routine include:
Healthy Snacks – While the beef treats and bully sticks you normally gave your pet might have been their favorite, these treats can also be extremely unhealthy. So if you still want to give your pup a few bites in between meals, or if you’re working on training and need a reward, opt for something healthy! Many human vegetables, like steamed green beans or cooked pumpkin, can make a great snack and you’ll still feel like you’re giving your dog something special. Make sure to check any human foods to ensure they are safe for dog consumption before you start feeding your pup off the table or out of the pantry.
Follow the Guidelines on their Food – All bags of dog food will have a recommended feeding guide based on a dog’s size, and the amount of food you feed your pet will vary greatly from food to food. Make sure to always check these instructions when you switch foods or brands, and don’t just assume that you should keep feeding your dog the same amount that you used to.
Stay Strong – If your pup is used to getting treats in between meals or scraps from the table, he or she will likely continue begging for something special, even though you are trying hard to help him or her lose weight. Stay strong, resist those sad puppy eyes, and know that you’re making decisions based on your dog’s greater needs, rather than an in-the-moment feeling.
Increase Exercise – Even if you just add a quick turn around the block once a day, increasing your dog’s exercise regimen by even a little can have tremendous benefits for your dog’s health, and yours too! Even if you feel like you have no free time, start small, and you’ll be amazed at how easy it is to fit 15 minutes of walking every day into your schedule. From there, you can increase your walks to longer adventures if you want or need to.
Get Help from the Team at Walk! ATX
If you are pressed for time and are worried that your dog is not getting the exercise he or she needs, our experienced team of dog walkers here at Walk! ATX is here to help! We can make sure your dog gets a great workout in a time-frame that fits your busy schedule, so call us today at (512) 655-9557 and learn more.