Tips&TricksFeeding Fido responsibly: The serious threats of canine obesity and how to combat them

Feeding Fido responsibly: The serious threats of canine obesity and how to combat them

The obese dog.
The obese dog.
Images source: © Getty Images | Anna Listishenko

2:11 PM EST, February 9, 2024

While a chubby dog may appear as adorable and cuddly as a plush toy, keep in mind that it's an actual living being that can suffer due to excess fat. Overweight dogs tend to struggle with heavier pressure on the joints and an overworked heart, conditions that can potentially reduce their lifespan by years. Prioritizing your pet's weight loss becomes crucial at this stage. Below, we've provided some useful tips on managing your dog's weight and restoring his health.

Obesity in dogs: it's serious business

Individuals who struggle daily with obesity can attest to how difficult life can be. The same applies to dogs hauling around those extra pounds. Beyond the charming exterior, an overweight dog might begin experiencing health issues, and their joints can deteriorate over time. The worst possible outcome can be degeneration and dysplasia, leading to problems with mobility. In a worst-case scenario, your pet may end up immobilized.

Another key reason to consider slimming down your dog concerns inflammatory conditions that can occur within the body. Some inflammations can evolve into tumors, progressively affecting the pet's internal organs. Ideally, a dog should not have more than 25-30% body fat. It's shockingly easy to overfeed a dog; however, losing that weight presents a real challenge. We have compiled expert advice below that you can incorporate into your pet's daily routine.

A strategy for slimming down your dog

The first aspect you need to deliberate on is your pet's diet. What exactly is he eating? How often? Does he snack between meals? If you rely mainly on dry food, inspect its ingredients. If it's filled with grains and mechanically separated meat, you may want to replace it, as such food fills the stomach without offering any real nutritional benefits. As for wet food, ensure it contains at least 70% meat. Switching the diet should be done gradually to prevent your dog from suffering from shock, which could lead to food rejection and vomiting.

Seek advice from your vet regarding feeding frequency and the appropriate portion sizes. Every breed has different needs; hence, it calls for unique evaluations. Refrain from providing your dog with human food! Your pet may show curiosity over your meals, but remember that not all human food suits dogs.

Also, your pet must get to engage in frequent physical activities. A short walk around the neighborhood won't cut it. Opt for extended, leisurely strolls where your dog can play and interact with other dogs. It's commonly suggested that your dog needs two short walks for physiological necessities, and one long active walk to help him burn off some calories.

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