There’s nothing cuter than a pleasantly plump puppy with squishy cheeks and a round belly. But what happens if that baby fat never goes away? What if your canine companion actually starts to pack on the pounds over time? Don’t worry, you wouldn’t be alone. The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention found that over half (54 percent) of dogs were overweight or obese in 2015.
Besides extra poundage being bad for your dog’s health, it may make their favorite activities difficult, from jumping into the car for a joy ride to strutting about town on leash. You want pet collars to fit so your furry friend can live his or her best life!
While it’s easy to rationalize having a chubby canine by insisting there’s more to love, it’s actually not good for your buddy’s health over time. A quick way to tell if your dog is overweight is to gently feel the ribs and spine. If you feel fur, skin and a thin layer of fat, there’s likely little cause for concern. If you have trouble locating those bones, your dog may be overweight (between 0 and 15 percent over their optimal weight) or obese (more than 15 percent over their goal weight).
Here are five ways to help your precious pup lose weight:
Practice Portion Control
Did you know that small dogs usually require more food in proportion to their weight than large dogs do? This just goes to show that every dog has different needs. Hint: They’re not always what’s listed on the bag or can label. If you’re concerned about your dog’s waistline, come up with a portion control plan with the help of a knowledgeable veterinarian. This will include feeding frequency, quantity and quality.
Avoid Human Food Scraps
Many people believe that their dogs don’t like designated dog food; they’ll only consume “human food.” While your pooch may prefer table scraps to kibble, it’s important not to make a habit of feeding your pup from the table. Those harmless leftovers add up over time and may spoil your dog’s appetite for dry or wet food.
Resist Those Puppy Eyes
What do you do when Spot is staring up at you with those huge eyes, begging for a piece of your strip steak? It’s tough, but you have to learn to say no. Discourage begging behaviors through training and positive reinforcement. That way, you can avoid the heart wrenching choice between enabling your pup or maintaining their overall health.
Cut Out Carbohydrates
What do dogs eat in the wild? Certainly not processed carbohydrates! Not only can excessive carbs cause your doggo to tip the scales, but they can actually deplete levels of important vitamins (like C and B). Make sure you’re choosing a high-quality dog food free of too many filler grains and skip carb-laden snacks.
Play Every Day
This last one is fun, we promise. Just get outside and play every day. Grab a ball, stick or a chew toy. Load up the car and head for the dog park. Hook up the leash and take a stroll. Dogs experience health benefits (like immune system elevation, heart health and mood improvement) from just 20 to 30 minutes of brisk walking daily.
Make sure your pet’s collar still fits and improve their overall health by helping your dog maintain a healthy weight. This way, they can stay by your side for years to come and experience all that life has to offer. Visit Hot Dog Collars for any supplies you need along the way!