Finding the right diet for an overweight dog – Part 1

Obesity is on the rise for people and their pets. Dogs become overweight the same way that their owners become overweight. They take in more calories than they burn off. An overweight dog does not just look bad, he is unhealthy. The only difference is that he cannot tell you about it. You may notice that your overweight dog has difficulty walking, running, or climbing stairs. He is more apt to have breathing problems, develop a heart condition, and have joint pain because of the extra weight. There are several steps that you can take to improve your dog’s health if he is overweight.

Foremost, consult your veterinarian. He will be able to assess your dog’s health and provide you helpful information about his condition. He may discover that there is a medical condition behind the weight, such as an abnormality within the thyroid gland.

The next step is to evaluate your dog’s eating habits. He should be eating dog food, and not a steak and potato dinner with the rest of the family. Yes, he is a family member, but for your pet’s health sake, do not feed him what you are eating. Do check his dog food to ensure that the first ingredient is meat, and not corn. Once you have selected an acceptable food source, reduce his meals by one third of what he was eating. Feed him twice a day and resist the urge to leave the food out all day. Extra treats alone can sabotage his diet. Treats should only be ten percent of his daily diet, because you have chosen a commercial dog food that provides one hundred percent of his daily nutrients. Make sure that everyone understands that they cannot sneak the dog food because they feel sorry for him.

Now that he is eating properly, begin providing more exercise opportunities. This is dependent on his health. If he suffers from health conditions that make exercise painful, you will have to forego this step and rely solely on reducing his diet. Start out slowly and increase activities. Brief power walks are a great way to start.

The health and quality of your dog’s life is solely your responsibility. With these tips you will be able to improve the quality of your dog’s life by reducing his weight. As a result, he will be able to live a longer life with you.

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