Everyone knows about the obesity epidemic among humans in America, and our dogs are not immune. In much the same ways our food has become more decadent and readily available, dog food has become richer, tastier, and in many ways more nutritious. However, dogs, like humans, did not adapt to a world in which nutrient dense food was always just sitting around, waiting to be eaten.
Some dogs can learn to “free feed” in a responsible way, but others are primed to satisfy the urge to eat whenever they can or even stress eat. Dachshunds, beagles, terriers and cocker spaniels tend to fall into the latter category. Moreover, any canine that lies around throughout the day has a high risk of becoming husky.
It might surprise you to learn that 33% of owners of overweight dogs are unaware that it has become a problem. A quick way to check if your pooch is getting too chunky is to feel of his rib cage with the palm of your hand. If you can’t feel individual ribs, there’s a chance he’s getting on the heavier side. An overweight dog is more susceptible to diseases like diabetes and cancer, so to give your dog a long, healthy life, keeping a healthy weight is important.
Treating Obesity in Dogs
- Don’t Give Your Dog Diet Pills!We’ve heard of some dog owners slipping diet pills into their dog’s food to curb their appetite or increase their metabolism. This is foolish to say the least! These pills and supplements are meant for human adults and often contain stimulants that can be lethal to dogs, especially considering the weight difference between an average dog and human. If your dog should be taking anything to promote a healthy weight, it must be prescribed by a veterinarian.
- Choose Dog Food WiselyDogs are not meant to eat a human diet. Nevertheless, many brands of dog food are based on grains like rice or corn. Not only can such ingredients cause digestive distress, but they can also increase insulin resistance in dogs, causing weight gain, and even diabetes. When selecting a dog food, get one with meat or vegetable meal ingredients in the first three places in the ingredients list. Blue Buffalo is an exceptional brand.
- Toss the Table Scraps!
Folk wisdom says dogs were made for table scraps, but human foods can actually be one of the reasons for obesity in dogs. It is also harder to screen the quantity and quality of food your dog eats when the family regularly indulges his tableside begging.
- Monitor Food Intake
Some dogs learned how to “free feed” as puppies, meaning they know when to stop eating even while food is available. However, dogs raised among other dogs competing for food may never learn to free feed properly. In that case, the total daily food requirement for your dog should be divided into two or three feedings a day. Programmable automatic feeders make this very easy.
- Discuss Weight Management with Your Vet
Edmond is known for its reputable vet clinics for dogs. If your dog has existing medical conditions, see your vet for the best advice for keeping a healthy weight. Keep in mind that even spaying or neutering your dog can affect how he or she gains weight throughout life. Some medications may be necessary in cases where your dog has a thyroid or other metabolic condition.
- Get Plenty of Exercise
Edmond offers dog owners plenty of sidewalks and parks to give your dog a good daily workout. Thirty minutes a day, three times a week is enough to keep most dogs lean and healthy. For those dog owners who don’t have the time or energy to ensure their dogs receive adequate exercise, there are dog daycare centers normally associated with dog groomers or boarders in Edmond, where your dog can play with others under constant supervision.