Dog Food – The Right Choice
So Rover is the size of a small truck…and you know that he’s suffering with obesity. The question is; what should you do? Nadia Crighton investigates.
Having a dog that is overweight is not good news. Obesity is a major problem within the dog community and the problem seems to be getting worst. Many dogs now are showing signs of being over-weight, which is putting a huge strain on their organs and limiting their life expectancy. Because these changes are so gradual many pet owners are oblivious to their dog’s ballooning weight problems. If you have a friend or family member, whose dog is clearly overweight, it might pay to bring the subject up with them…you could save their dog’s life.
Some of the main signs your dog is over weight is:
- You can not feel your dogs ribs as there is a thick layer of fat over the top.
- Looking down from above your dog, there is no definite waistline.
- Exercise causing breathlessness.
- Limping or difficulty to move due to excessive weight.
- Excessive fat around the limbs, face and neck.
- Unwillingness to exercise.
- Dog looks out of proportion.
If your ticked YES to any of the above a check by a veterinarian is a must to diagnose your dog’s obesity and also rule out any other complications. It’s a good idea to keep a doggy food diary and write down exactly how much food your dog is consuming. This also includes treats, foods you are feeding your dog from your plate, the cat biscuits the dog is steeling etc. You may be quite surprised how much food your dog actually has access to during the day. This is a great tool to take to your vet so you can take the best course of action to reduce the weight and improve your dog’s overall health and wellbeing.
Getting Under Control
So your dog is deemed to be suffering from obesity… what next? Your vet will advise a slow and gentle approach to weight loss, which will include:
- Dietary change. Perhaps to a special prescription diet. Your vet will also ask you to stop feeding your dog treats, and human food. There are also some low-calorie dog foods commercially available to your pet.
- Keep other foods out of reach. This may include feeding your cat in an area away from your dog.
- Increasing exercise. Little by little. Not heading out on a marathon run or hike. If your dog hasn’t been exercising regularly a small and gentle walk around the block and gradually extending the distance and pace is the best way to go.
- Remember this a lifestyle change not an overnight fix. Your dog will need to gradually increase exercise and degrease calories. Make exercise fun, think about training, balls, fun activities for you both to do and watch the weight melt away and your new energized dog emerge!