Health implications for overweight dogs
There is an old saying with regard to overfeeding your dog and that is quite simply, ‘killing your pet with kindness’, or what you perceive to be kindness.
Of course dogs relish the opportunity of a cooked sausage or two and look at those eyes when they see you reach for their treat jar. Sadly the reality of too many sausages and treats, can be an overweight dog causing lasting damage to your pets organs, bones and joints, leading to heart disease and high blood pressure.
Less calories – weight management
You can start by consulting your vet, who will advise the best diet for your dog and work with you to ensure that weight reducing and management, will be controlled and done in the correct manner.
They will also take into account your dogs exercise regime and calorie intake. It could be that just cutting treats altogether is all that your dog needs to shed those extra pounds. If this is the case and once your dog reaches their ideal weight, a slightly longer exercise regime, is all that is required to maintain a healthy weight.
Don’t give in
It is so important that you hold firm when Fido offers those pleading eyes. Remember it is for their own good and if you are serving the correct portions, giving more food/treats will only add to more weight issues.
Begging is a trick that they will quickly learn to exploit, so put them away while you are eating.
Increasing their exercise alone, is not enough to reduce a dogs weight, although it is very helpful. You will need to start gradually, little and often, being mindful of older pets, especially in hot weather.
If your dog enjoys playing, outdoor activities such as hiding a favourite toy, will also stimulate their mind, as well as reducing their waistline.
Treats do not have to be like those found in a local supermarket packet. Pieces of carrot, small slices of cooked liver, or chicken can be ideal, but remember to adjust their main meal accordingly.
Neither are treats essential and should always be given in small quantities such as the size of a fingernail.
Be patient with any weight loss/weight management program. It may take a few months before your dog reaches his/her target weight and be sure to seek veterinary advice and guidance before a diet is agreed.
Having more than one dog
The best solution for someone who has more than one dog, is to feed them separately.
Do not leave food out when you are away from the home, since you cannot control who eats what when you are not around.
Weight loss success
For the majority of overweight dogs the key to weight loss success is commitment from their owners.
Dogs do not understand the implications of being overweight and rely on us for their well-being and safety. By overfeeding our canine companions we are inadvertently contributing to a premature death or developing a debilitating disease.