Dogs around the country are gaining weight – in fact up to about 25% of dogs are fat, obese, way too heavy, and are in danger of a shorter life span, developing heart disease, joint problems, diabetes and even cancer. While some rolls of fat on a baby are considered “cute,” rolls of fat on adults and dogs are not cute and lead to so many medical and health issues.
It is time to take a serious loving look at your dog and see for yourself if your dog is on the way to becoming fat, or is already there. Of course your vet is always the best source for talking to you about your dog’s health, and if they need to shed a few pounds, or drop ten or twenty! If your fur baby does not have a waist – you know where that is – it’s back behind the rib cage and before the hips – there should be an indentation there – a waist line. If your dog’s waist line cannot be found, then your dog is in danger of being too fat and in need of a diet. Can you feel their ribs? They don’t have to be sticking out, but you should be able to feel their ribs without rolling blobs of fat out of the way.
Talk with your vet about a sensible doggy diet plan. It may take just a little less extra food and late night snacking and a little bit more exercise. If you like to give treats keep an eye on what kind of treats you are giving, how much you give and how often. If you treat so much your dog doesn’t eat their regular food then it’s time to cut down. A good rule is to figure that the treats you give should not make up more than 10% of your dog’s daily calorie intake.
So what can you give your dog so he won’t develop hunger pains and you won’t feel like you are starving him? You can always give little baby carrots to chew on – just like adults who munch on carrots while they diet, your dog can eat carrots which have their own sweetness and quench chewing and munching needs. You can also try other veggies, but make sure you try them where your dog won’t make a big mess on the carpeting. While dogs may like carrots, they may not like other veggies like green beans or snow pea pods which are also a good choice. Some dogs love to eat popped popcorn that you toss out while you eat some yourself – try to go for popcorn that does not have added butter or salt to get a healthier low calorie snack.
If you would rather not replace “bad” snacking with healthier choices, you may consider use of chewy toys that fill the dogs need to chew and gnaw during the day. There are chewy bones that are not edible and do not disintegrate and other chew bones that can be consumed with sustained chewing.
Taking your dog in for a pre-diet checkup is always a wise decision. You can talk with your vet, get great advise, have someone else helping you figure out how to make the diet work, and make sure that your dog is healthy before starting a diet. Good luck! Leave comments your dog has been on a diet and what you found to work the best.