Obesity is on the rise in dogs. 40% of dogs are obese, and that number is slowly climbing. Obesity is a serious condition defined as a weight of more than 20% of the ideal body weight. Dogs usually become obese from a more sedentary lifestyle and receive more calories than needed. A few diseases can cause obesity in dogs; hypothyroidism and Cushing’s disease are two, so testing before going on a weight loss program is recommended.
Obesity can lead to a wide variety of problems including:
People think that spaying and neutering play a role in gaining weight. In a way, it is true due to the lower release of hormones, but at the same time, no, the more you feed your pet and less exercise, just like people, you will gain weight. The most significant factor in weight gain is people’s food and treats. Your dog may be getting the proper amount of food but give them milk, bones, or people food three times a day or more; they will begin to get overweight.
There are some great prescription foods to help your dog lose weight. Be very cautious of “Lite,” “light,” or “low calorie” commercial foods as this can be a marketing advertisement, and they can be a higher fat content.
With your pet, we can design the appropriate weight loss program with the correct amount to feed. The feedings should be at least three meals a day, but if that is unfeasible, then twice a day is all right. Your dog should have fresh water available throughout the day, as usual. While on the weight loss program, treats and table scraps are a big no-no. If you need to give treats, there is a low-calorie treat, or carrots are an excellent low-calorie snack that most dogs love. All dogs should be walked for at least fifteen to thirty minutes every day, twice a day. Playing fetch in a large area is also an excellent example of exercise.
While on the weight loss program, your pet must come in every one to three weeks (depending on the animals) to be weighed. The animal should be weighed at the same time each weigh-in for consistency. We can make a weight chart to see your animal’s progress. A 15-20% reduction in body weight is a good starting point; dogs are a bit easier than cats to calculate an ideal body weight.
Once your animal has reached its weight loss goal, you can go from a reducing diet to a maintenance diet so it does not lose too much weight. Once the ideal weight is reached, at least for the first year, regular weigh-ins are necessary to ensure your pet is not regaining weight.
December 19, 2022
December 19, 2022
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