Much like their human owners, animals have to deal with unwanted weight, too. Animal obesity is an epidemic across the country with more than 50 percent of pets now overweight.
My little girl Nadya, an adorable 7 year old bichon/poodle mix often overindulges in food. Every time she thinks she does something good, she expects a treat. You spoil them and then you don’t realize what you’re doing.
To lose weight, cutting calories is the key. If you look at the calorie content of those treats, it would comprise probably one of their two meals. So by doing this on a daily basis, giving them 30, 40 percent more calories than they need, you can imagine what’s gonna happen after a few years.
To figure out if a pet is on the heavy side, you want to see an indentation in the waist. When you see them like a box, that’s too big, it’s like a coffee table. Likewise, if you can grab too much skin, it’s too much. You want to be able to feel the ribs, not see them, but feel them.
• Talk To A Vet
The animal may have an underlying health condition that’s causing the weight gain. In many cases, a dog gaining weight means hypothyroidism, which is very common among middle aged dogs. Sluggishness, lethargy is also a sign. Ask your vet for a full thyroid panel including T4, T3, Free T4, Free T3, TSH and TGAA. A full CBC panel may indicate other conditions.
• Watch Them At Meal Time
Make sure the animals only eat their own food.
• Give Pets Healthy Treats
Apples, carrots, lean chicken and turkey are great options. Before giving it to them, please blend them. Dogs are unable to properly digest whole/cut up pieces.
• Exercise, Exercise, Exercise
Experts recommend at least two 20-minute brisk walks each day. If you are unable to do this, it may be worthwhile investing in a dog treadmill. I recommend PetZen Dog Treadmill below. It has received great ranking among vet experts as well as dog owners.
The bigger they are, the less they want to do. The less they do, the bigger they get. We need to overcome that by forcing them to get out there.
Swimming is also a “low-impact” form of exercise that’s great for overweight dogs. It’s non-weight-bearing and there’s no stress on their joints. They’re able to move freely in the water…it’s much easier for them to burn off the calories.