Weight Loss Tips to Help Get Your Dog Get Healthy Again
One of the most common causes of conditions like osteoarthritis in pets is obesity. If your pet is overweight this includes cats as well, you are putting your pet at risk of developing joint disease later on in their lives.
There are a number of treatment options available to you, but as long as your pet is overweight, there is a real and high probability of them developing joint and bone problems.
Some of these tips to get your pet back to a health weight could include:
- Cut back on the amount of food given to the dog. Just like in humans, too many calories without enough exercise means weight gain. Therefore, one of the first steps in reducing the pets’s weight should be reducing caloric intake. Chances are, your pet does not need as much food as you thinks they do. In fact, most of the popular commercial dog foods are full of filler ingredients that lead to more calories but don’t have a whole lot of nutritional value. You might think about not only reducing the volume of food, but also switching to a high-protein, grain-free brand of dog food as well. Most commercial pet food manufactures will have a weight loss diet formulation.
- Stop giving treats as rewards. We as pet owners have been conditioned to give pets especially our dogs treats to reward them for doing tricks or for good behavior. I recommend in stead of a treat you might instead consider rewarding your pet with fun. This could mean some play time, a belly rub or a new toy. Additionally, it is very important to completely cut out feeding your pet scraps from the table — this is a very unhealthy practice and could be a huge contributor to the dog’s weight problems.
- Get them more exercise. Again, just like humans, dogs need to get a certain amount of exercise to stay healthy. Dogs love to get out and run around. I tell me clients to try and aim for 15 minutes of strenuous exercise a couple times a day. This could mean more outdoor play time, or taking a brisker pace on daily walks. However, you need to always increase this amount of activity slowly so both you and your pet can adjust to the increased exercise time and intensity. If you have a large breed puppy, less than a year and half, it is important not to over exercise them due to their growing joints. A good rule of thumb is 5 minutes of exercises for every month of age. Eg 6 months old puppy 30 minutes of exercise a day (walking not running)
- Take it slow. Weight loss does not and should not happen overnight. Making the necessary lifestyle changes will help the dog to achieve healthy weight loss over time, but you should never feel like you needs to rush it.
For more information about how to instruct pet owners about dog weight loss, contact the team at VTA today [email protected]
© Author: Dr. John | Veterinary Teaching Academy
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