Helping Your Dog To Lose Weight

12th October 2016

obesedogJust like people, dogs need regular exercise and stimulation to keep them in tip-top shape, both physically and mentally. And since dogs crave human companionship, then who better to choose as your exercise partner than your pooch? Unfortunately, 45% of dogs in Australia are either overweight or obese according to the Australian Veterinary Association. Just like with humans, these extra kilos can make them more prone to certain illnesses such as diabetes, heart disease, arthritis, and lung disorders. On the flip side, studies have shown that dogs who are at their ideal weight live at least two years longer than their overweight counterparts.

Many dog owners fail to recognise that their dogs are overweight, preferring to consider them "big boned" or still shedding their "puppy fat." There are basically two ways to lose weight - eat less and exercise more. When your dog goes in for his annual examination, your vet can tell you whether your dog is overweight, and the best methods to reset his metabolism. The exact amount of calories he needs to consume will be determined by his age, breed and activity level.

  • Calories. To reduce your dog's calorie intake, without leaving him with hunger pangs, one option is to feed your dog smaller portions more frequently throughout the day.
  • Diet. We strongly suggest that you always do you own research and then you will be able to make your own informed decision. Give some thought about what a wild dog would naturally eat in the bush. Dead animals, wild berries and grasses which are all raw and very natural. Ian Billinghurst's website Ian believes - if cats and dogs are to achieve the long life and health they deserve, they should eat the food that nature intended them to eat; a diet based on the principles of evolutionary nutrition. This type of diet is known as a BARF diet ("BARF" is an acronym for "Biologically Appropriate Raw Food"). Be wary of dog foods labeled "diet", "light" or "reduced calorie". Too many of these foods substitute meat portions with high levels of carbohydrate fillers (corn, wheat, soy). Although it may be lower in calories and help your dog feel fuller initially, this feeling will soon abate, leaving him to beg.
  • Treats. Choose healthier treats and cut back on the amount you give him. You can even try vegetables such as carrots, apples, broccoli and lean string beans ... these are good for us too! Cut into small cubes and scatter these veggies around your yard daily. Not only will it give your dog something healthy to forage for - it will also keep them mentally stimulated and occupied.
  • Exercise, exercise, exercise. What a great opportunity for the two of you to walk and work out together. Start by walking shorter distances and then increase the distance every day. You can also play fetch, play with toys, run, swim or climb the stairs. If the weather outside is inclement, here's some fun games to play inside to help stimulate your dog mentally and physically.

Your vet will let you know what a safe rate of weight loss is for your dog. If your dog loses weight too quickly, this can endanger his well-being. Here's to a healthier dog and a healthier you!

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