Recent studies have suggested that between 40 – 50% of all dogs are overweight.
This is caused by too many calories and too little exercise!
It is far better to prevent your dog becoming overweight in the first place by feeding a balanced, healthy diet, but what do you do if your dog has already piled on the pounds?
If you feel that your dog is seriously overweight, it would be better to speak to your vet first for advice before putting him on a diet. Ask their advice and work out a weight-reduction plan together. This will give your vet the chance to assess your dog and check that there are no underlying health concerns such as heart problems or diabetes.
If you are given a health plan for your dog, it is important to stick to it, it may seem to be quite hard to do, but the long-term benefits for your dog will be huge. Although, treating him to a couple of titbits may not seem much, it could ruin all your hard work.
Overweight dogs will usually require a low calorie diet; this will provide a nutritionally balanced diet that is tasty and full of fibre, to stop the hunger pangs! Simply reducing his normal food will not work – he will just get hungry and beg for more.
Exercise is essential if you are trying to lose weight – it’s no different for dogs! If your dog is not used to regular exercise, begin with a brisk ten minute walk daily and gradually increase it to 20 minutes over two weeks. As he gets fitter, you can increase it more, it will do you both good.
If you tend to reward your dog with treats, try to come up with alternative rewards such as cuddles, walks or play. If you cannot resist giving him the occasional food treat, choose a low fat version – there are plenty available.
If your dog is only slightly overweight, try splitting his daily quota of food into several small meals throughout the day. Leave his bowl of food for 15 minutes only, and then remove it.
Excess weight should be lost gradually, 1 to 1.5 pounds a week at most. Monitor his weight loss with regular check ups at the vets.
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