How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight in Rutland, VT
Dogs who are overweight run a risk of serious health problems. It is estimated that over half of the dogs in the United States are heavier than they should be. This increases his chances of arthritis, heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, bladder stones and even certain types of cancer. Overweight dogs also run a higher risk of complications while being under anesthesia.
If your pup is packing a little extra pudge, here are some helpful hints to help him get back to his healthy self.
Diet and Exercise
Diet plays the biggest role when trying to help your dog shed some pounds, while daily exercise acts as an assistant in the goal of getting in shape!
Below, you can see which fruits and veggies dogs can have as well as the ones you shouldn’t feed your dog according to Petco.
Increasing the fiber in your dog’s diet will not only aide in digestion – it helps them feel fuller for longer. To add more fiber to your dog’s diet, try giving them fruits or vegetables.
Most dogs love carrots or apples, which not only bulk up the fiber content but can also help clean their teeth! Two to five percent of a dog’s daily calories should come from fiber.
Toss the Treats and Go for Greens and Fresh Fruits
Instead of high calorie dog treats, try giving them some fresh produce. Carrots, broccoli, cucumbers, blueberries, apples or bananas can be a good substitute for treats made of mystery meat and can provide essential nutrients and vitamins. Some, like green beans, can be frozen for extra crunch!
Skip the Scraps
Not only does giving your dog table scraps from your own meals encourage the bad behavior of begging, but it can also lead to health issues. Dogs that eat table scraps are more likely to become obese. Some table foods are toxic to dogs or can cause digestive difficulties.
Visit Your Vet
Before making any major changes to your dog’s diet, you should talk it over with your veterinarian. Your vet can provide advice about the best diet and exercise plan for your dog. They can even help design a feeding guide for your pet, which helps determine how much food and treats they should be getting each day based on their current weight, their goal weight, and the type of food they eat.
Sometimes a dog is overweight due to underlying health conditions, such as hypothyroidism or diabetes. It’s important to rule out any health issues before starting a weight loss plan.
Most dogs benefit from a daily walk. These walks should be no less than thirty minutes long, ideally closer to forty-five minutes. If your pup is particularly plump and out of shape, they may not be able to withstand a long walk. You can start off by taking shorter walks a few times a day.
Let your dog set the pace and keep a close eye on their mood. Because being overweight significantly increases his risks of arthritis or other joint issues, you might see them limping or reluctant to move.
The Swimming Solution
If your dog is both overweight and suffering from joint pain, swimming may be the perfect answer for getting them to exercise. Swimming provides two unique advantages over walking – the water offers extra resistance when moving which increases calorie expenditure and builds more muscle, and the buoyancy provided will alleviate any stress on painful joints.
Not all dogs are natural swimmers, but thankfully you can easily find a puppy life jacket that will help them float as they swim away the excess weight.
Playing the Pounds Away
Let’s face it, sometimes the weather just doesn’t allow for a lengthy walk outdoors. If it’s raining, extremely hot or frigidly cold, both you and your pooch won’t want to spend much time on walks.
Thankfully, playing games with your dog is another great way to give them the exercise they need. Having your dog run up and down the stairs with you a few times, play hide and seek, or even a game of tug burns calories and helps get your dog back into shape. Another indoor activity you can play with you pet is a simple game of fetch with their favorite toy.
Understanding the Importance of Keeping Your Pet’s Weight Under Control
Remember that, just like with humans, a dog’s metabolism goes down with age. If your younger pet is overweight now, it’s likely that issue will only get worse as the years go by. It’s best to nip any bad habits bud as soon as possible.
Getting your dog back to their optimal weight will help them feel better, improve quality of life and (the best part) prolong their time with you.
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About Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center
Rutland Veterinary Clinic and Surgical Center provides top-quality veterinary care to the Rutland, VT pet community.