Preventing dog obesity requires a commitment from pet owners. Pet owners are responsible for when their dog eats, how much they eat, what they eat, and when they exercise. That is unless you have magical dog who can access their food and serve himself a healthy portion, and then let themselves off to go for a post-meal jog.
The two greatest contributors to canine obesity are a lack of exercise and diet. As a dog owner, part of your responsibility is to ensure that your dog is healthy. And sadly, not enough dog owners do, as 53% of American dogs are considered obese.
What can a pet owner do to prevent dog obesity? Here are 4 way to get you started.
1. Regular Weigh Ins
It can be difficult to notice subtle weight gain or loss in your dog. And it can be difficult to monitor the fluctuations in weight your dog may experience if the only time he gets weighed is the 2-3 times per year he goes into the vet and gets weighed. So what’s a dog owner to do?
Get a pet scale and weigh your dog from home!
It’s a good idea to weigh your dog every 3-4 weeks and keep a record of their weight. With regular weigh ins, you’ll be able to monitor the progress, or regression, of your other obesity prevention tactics.
Pet scales can be found at most pet stores.
2. Create A Workout Routine
Even for humans, having a routine can be beneficial to our health. Our bodies perform better when we eat, sleep, and exercise around the same time each day. For dogs, routine is even more essential.
To prevent canine obesity, you’ll want to create a workout routine for your dog so that their body can adapt to the routine. Plan to play fetch at a particular time each day, or maybe take them for a walk each morning or soon after you get home from work.
By establishing a regular workout schedule for your dog, you get the added benefit of adapting to the routine yourself, which will make the time commitment much easier for you. Your dog will need to burn a particular threshold of calories each day to avoid putting on weight, so you may as well build a routine for them to do so that fits your busy schedule.
3. Put an End to Table Scraps
We know it can be hard to avoid “dropping” a piece of meat from you table when you have a pair of adorable puppy eyes staring up at you. Dogs absolutely adore getting little taste of table scraps, but feeding your dog table scraps puts them at an increased risk for becoming obese.
A dog’s digestive system is not designed to ingest and break down the same foods that we eat. Anytime they get to chew on some leftover steak, a bite of chicken, or a chunk of potato, they may enjoy it in the moment, but in the long run they won’t. Digesting the food will be difficult. Also, the more times your dog gets a taste of a table scrap, the more likely they are to want more in the future. A scrap here or there could lead to a nasty habit of your dog leaping onto counters or digging through trash in search of more human food.
Instead of table scraps, find a healthy dog treat for your furry friend. They’ll love it almost as much, and it will be much healthier for them.
4. Switch Up Their Diet
What a dog eats has a big factor on their health and body weight. In some cases, the type of food is more consequential towards their weight gain than the amount. Much like the types of food we eat affect our health, you need to pay attention to what you’re feeding your dog. All types of dog food will feature a detailed list of ingredients on the packaging. You want your dog to get the essential proteins and nutrients they need in their food, and want to avoid some of the high calorie filler that many dog foods possess.
Some types of dog food will possess a concerning level of caloric filler. This filler is used to create a dog food that is cheaper to produce, which then can be sold to dog owners at a cheaper price. Some dogs have a great metabolism and get enough exercise that eating this type of food won’t affect them. But there are particular breeds of dogs that are more at risk for becoming obese. If you have one of those dogs, or a dog who doesn’t get much exercise, consult your vet about a different type of dog food that will be a healthier diet for them.
Learn More at PetPlace
You love your dog. To show your dog how much you love them, take note of some of the obesity prevention tips we reviewed here, to provide your dog with a healthier lifestyle.
At PetPlace, we love dogs too! We have thousands of vet-approved articles such as this one that can help pet owners boost their pet-related knowledge. For example, check out the best dog breeds for families and the importance of properly training your dog.