It is a well-documented fact that more people living in the USA are overweight than any other country. This also seems to be true for American dogs as well. Research has shown that being overweight not only causes dogs to suffer more frequently from joint disease and related problems but it also reduces their life span by up to 30%. Yet people for whatever reason continue to feed their dogs too much food.
In my 40+ years of dealing with people who overfeed their dogs I have noticed that most of them do not even recognize that their dogs are overweight. So how do you tell if you have a fat dog. The easiest way is to compare it a chart that Purina research has put out that shows what the differences in weights on dogs looks like. Even with this great chart many people still cannot tell fat from muscle. Muscle is lean and when a dog is in proper weight you can see the cuts in the muscle very distinctly. Fat will make a hard rounded appearance and a very obese dog will have sides that roll back and forth like Jello™ when they are trotting towards you. The ribs of the dog should be easy to feel with lean muscle over them just enough to cover but not hide them.
If you have determined however, that your dog is overweight here are a few tips to help you get those pounds off.
1. Cut the amount you are feeding in half for one week. If let’s say, you are giving 2 cups of dry food in the morning and the same in the evening, then cut back to 1 cup for each meal.
2. Snacks should be meat or raw veggies like carrots and nothing else.
3. Double the exercise and make sure this is aerobic exercise. For example, if you take the dog on a walk to park once a day, keep that but add in another session where you jog instead of walk. Or if your dog likes to swim, add in a session of 30 minutes of vigorous swimming.
4. If you don’t jog you can put your dog on a treadmill for 30-60 minutes a day. I have one just for dogs with a longer base but, if you do things slowly, your dog will adapt to a human treadmill no problem.
Once you get the weight off keep it off by regularly weighing your dog at the vets. They don’t charge for it and it will give you a good guide that those pounds are not creeping back on when you thought you have gotten them all off.
You might want to switch foods as the one you are feeding may have too many carbohydrates or grains in it. A good grain free, balanced food like Rachael Ray’s Nutrish Grain Free diets might just the ticket to keeping those pounds off.
Debby Kay has been a pioneer in scent detection work for over 40 years. Debby teaches Super Sniffer® workshops for amateur dog owners and professional trainers alike. She has set up several non profit organizations worldwide for Diabetes Alert Dogs and her Sweet Snoopers program is now in 22 countries around the world helping people manage this disease better through the use of trained alert dogs.
Debby is a founding officer and lifetime member of the Labrador Retriever Club of the Potomac, and a member of the Labrador Retriever Club Inc. She is a professional member of the Dog Writers Association of America, The Association of Professional Dog Trainers, and the International Association of Canine Professionals.
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Don’t miss our exclusive interview with Author Eric O’Grey on Diabetes Late Nite scheduled for Tuesday, December 12, 2017, 6 PM, EST.