People love watching dog videos on the Internet because who doesn’t like seeing those adorable pups? And the cuteness only multiplies tenfold when the dog is fat and extra fluffy. But no matter how adorable people find chubby dogs, this condition shouldn’t be a norm.
The 2018 survey of the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention reveals that 56 percent of owned dogs in the US are overweight, which is an alarming number, given the serious health threat of obesity for pets.
How to Check if Your Dog is Overweight
Before you put your dog on a diet, you have to be sure whether or not the weight of your dog is over ideal. Otherwise, the diet can only endanger your pup’s health more. You can follow this easy body condition score by the World Small Animal Veterinary Association (WSAVA).
Feel the backbone and ribs.
If you find it difficult to trace your dog’s spine and ribcage with your hands, it’s likely that they’re overweight.
Look at their side.
If the belly is sagging or drooping to the floor, that’s a sign that your pet is carrying a few extra pounds.
Look at your pet from the top.
If you look downwards at your pet from above, you should see at least a silhouette of their waist or inward curves just above the hips. If the curves are lost beneath a covering of fur and fat, that means your pup is overweight.
How to Help Your Dog Regain Those Curves
If you confirm that your pet is overweight, you have to put him or her on a strict diet. But a doggy diet means more than just providing the same food but in smaller portions. Your pet must consume the amount of calories and nutrients appropriate for a dog of similar age and size. Here’s a general guideline on how to help your dog lose some weight.
Be strict about the calorie intake
Treats and people food can increase the calorie intake of your pet so you need to cut these out of his or her diet. If your pet is in the middle of a formal dog training and is used to receiving treats as rewards, you can switch to a high-fiber, low-calorie treat instead. Just remember to reduce the portion of your dog’s meals depending on the treat’s calorie count so he or she doesn’t go over. You can use this calorie calculator from the Pet Nutrition Alliance to know your dog’s daily calorie limit.
Again, your dog needs to get the adequate amount of nutrients. And adult dog generally needs at least 10 percent of his or her calories from protein and at least 5.5 percent from fat. The diet of an adult dog can consist of 50 percent carbohydrates and 2.5 to 4.5 percent fiber.
Engage in physical activity
Couple your dog’s diet with exercise. The general recommendation for dogs is at least 30 minutes of physical activity each day. You can break this up into two 15-minute play sessions to make it easy on your dog, especially if he or she is used to a sedentary lifestyle. And exercise isn’t restricted to running. You can swim, play fetch, and others. Choose an activity you know your dog would love to engage him or her more.
The weight loss formula for pets is similar to that of humans: diet, exercise, and consultation. Visit your veterinarian to ensure that your dog’s weight loss journey will be safe and successful.