Do you joke that your dog has a “beer belly” or unusually thick neck? It may look cute from your perspective, similar to how people feel about chunky babies, but it could indicate a problem. Did you know that approximately 50% of dogs are overweight or obese? Like their humans, most dogs become obese in middle age (between five and ten years of age). Extra weight makes your pet more prone to heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, arthritis, immune dysfunction and diabetes, and may increase their chances of injury.
How Can You Tell If Your Pet is Overweight or Obese?
- How can you find out if your dog is becoming a couch potato? Here are some tips from veterinarians.
- The Rib Test. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs but not see them. Stand, looking down at your dog. Your pet should have a waistline that indents at the hips. If your dog’s shape looks more like an oval then it does an hourglass, they may be overweight.
- The Healthy Weight Protocol test can be performed at the veterinarian’s office. The vet will take four measurements of your dog and input them into the computer. The computer program then tells the vet the dog’s body weight index. The vet then compares it to a chart and can tell you exactly how much weight your pet needs to lose. First check with your vet to see if they offer this test.
Like people, dogs lose weight by consuming fewer calories than they burn. Easier said than done. Lowering your dog’s daily intake is a must, but your “beer belly” dog has become accustomed to eating more and may not want to give up the extra food and treats. In other words, you may have a battle of wills on your hands. You can do this!
Here are some pet weight loss tips suggested by vets:
- Cut your dog’s intake by 25%.
- Gradually increase their exercise routine to 20-30 minutes a day.
- Give carbs a rest. Look for food that is low in carbohydrates.
- Measure their food in a measuring cup, don’t just pour it into the bowl. Using a precise measurement will help you avoid overfeeding your pet.
- Give your dog healthy low sugar snacks.
- To make sure everything is going well with our dog’s weight loss consult your vet.
- Make sure they drink enough water. It’s an essential part of your pet’s health. How much depends on several factors including the season, the size of your dog, their overall health and the type of food they eat (dry or wet).
You may notice that the tips for keeping your dog in tip-top shape are similar to what your doctor might tell you: eat right, drink plenty of water and exercise.
If your pet is a client at Pet Lovers Resort and you have put them on a diet, please tell us so that we can feed and exercise them accordingly. Consistency is essential in any change of habit, for dogs as well as humans. Pet Lovers Resort can be reached at 818-578-5664.
We also offer grooming services.
We are conveniently located right off the 101 Freeway at 18416 Ventura Blvd., Tarzana, CA 91356.