Shockingly, almost 45 percent of dogs are overweight in the United States. A good number of overweight dogs are actually considered obese and may be at risk for early death and a host of illnesses associated with obesity, including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer. For this reason, you need to take immediate steps to help your dog lose weight if you think they are carrying a few extra pounds. Fortunately, it's not that difficult to help your dog shed excess pounds. Here are four ways you can help your pet lose weight.
Avoid feeding your pet too many calories. Never feed more than the recommended amount for your dog's weight that's listed on the back of the package. If your dog is obese, sedentary or fixed, you should feed them a little less, probably 20 to 30 percent less. Also, be mindful of the calories contained in treats. As with humans, snacking is a major cause of weight gain in dogs. If at all possible, discontinue giving treats altogether. If you must give treats, give your dog fresh green beans or carrots.
A lot of packaged dog foods contain too many carbohydrates. To avoid feeding your dog too many, check the ingredient label on their food. Strive to feed your dog kibble that has little or no grain in it. Foods with a protein source, such as chicken, listed as the first ingredient are best since they contain more protein than other types of foods, which are mostly grain and filler.
Engage your pet in at least 15 minutes of strenuous physical activity twice per day. If you take your pet on leisurely walks, pick up the pace and walk a few extra blocks to help them burn calories. If walking isn't an option, play with your pet. Playing fetch and tug-of-war are great ways to get your dog active. If you want, you can do both. The key is to get your dog more active any way that you can.
There isn't a magic cure or pill that will help your dog lose weight. If you want to help them shed the pounds, you must feed them less and exercise them more. Keep in mind that healthy weight loss is gradual. It may take months or even a year for your efforts to pay off. However, you will have a happy, healthy pet for years to come if you make the effort. For more information, talk to a pet hospital.