Did you know that maintaining a healthy weight can add up to two years to your pet’s life? Veterinary research shows that obese dogs generally have shorter lifespans than dogs who are at a healthy weight. So, as difficult as helping your pet lose weight can be, the benefit is well worth the effort. Usually your pet should have a ‘waist’ that tucks up under their back legs and you should be able to easily feel and count ribs on the side of their body. If you cannot feel their ribs, they may be obese; if the ribs are sticking out, they may be too skinny
Just like when you’re watching your weight, diet and exercise are key. It is important for your dog to have a balanced, nutritional diet. Next time you’re in the dog food aisle, think about purchasing a food that is specially balanced for your pet’s stage of life and activity level. A growing puppy who is always running around is going to need a more calorically dense food than a less active senior pet. You might even want to put your pooch on a diet dog food is he has gotten particularly fluffy.
When it comes to dog food, there are some companies that have performed a lot of research to develop diets for pets at different life stages (puppy, adult, senior). Some companies have also performed a lot of research regarding diets for specific diseases, conditions or afflictions that can be helped by meeting specific dietary needs. Ask your vet if they recommend a specific food for your dog. Choose a diet that is balanced for your dog’s age, but be careful about feeding recommendations on the bag or can. Many dog food companies make their recommendations based on a very active lifestyle. If your pet does not have an active lifestyle, then your pet’s requirements may be less than the packaging recommends. Ask your veterinarian if you are feeding your dog an appropriate amount of food each day.
The other part of the recipe for weight loss is also simple: exercise! Physical activity is as vital for dogs as it is for people. Exercise keeps their weight down and also keeps bones and muscles strong and maintains good general health. Start simple: your dog should be walked every single day, at least once and for at least a half hour, but an hour is better. It takes time, but our pets ask for so little and give so much love in return!
In some cases, severely overweight dogs might benefit from a weight loss pet medication like Slentrol for dogs. Work closely with your veterinarian to develop a diet and exercise plan that works to keep your pet trim and healthy.