The Paunchy Pooch
We love our pets but, unfortunately, we also love to spoil them. Excessive food intake and insufficient exercise often lead to obesity for our pets. According to estimates, over half of client-owned dogs are overweight. Dogs can develop many obesity related health problems and they are more common in older, less active pets. Dogs that are fed homemade meals, table scraps, and snacks are more likely to be overweight than dogs that are fed only commercial pet food.
There are many obesity related health problems and some medical conditions can lead to obesity, so it’s important to bring your dog in for annual veterinary checkups. By examining your dog, your veterinarian can tell you whether he or she is overweight or obese, what the cause is, and how to lose that extra weight.
The most effective weight loss plans involve increasing activity and feeding fewer calories. Most owners feel that they are not overfeeding their dogs but in fact are, despite how hungry they may act. Remember that when helping your dog lose weight, slower is safer. Your dog should only lose 2% or less of his or her initial body weight per week and some weight-loss programs may take an entire year or longer.
You can help your dog become more active and lose weight by scheduling regular playtimes and walks. For walks, start out slow to give your dog a chance to adapt to an exercise routine. Work up to a brisk, 10 to 20 minute walk or jog once or twice a day. On hot or cold days, go easy or rest. If you don’t have time to walk your dog, consider hiring a dog walker. Doggy day care centers can also help ensure that your dog gets plenty of exercise throughout the day. Consider adopting another pet so that your dog has a playmate that encourages keeping active. If you don’t want to commit to a new pet, try scheduling regular visits with the pet of a friend or relative.
Losing weight can help your dog live longer, avoid disease, and feel better, especially on hot days!
Please call Copper Hill Animal Clinic at 661-296-8848 to schedule an appointment.
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