While those little happy but pudgy dogs are super adorable and extremely sqeezable, the truth, unfortunately, is that carrying extra weight can be unhealthy for dogs too. It is estimated that as many as 41.9 million dogs are overweight or obese in the United States alone. It is easy for many pet owners to overlook the importance of managing the weight of their dog but doing so is important in order to prevent death and deadly health risks such as type-2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease and joint injury in our furry friends. October is National Pet Obesity Awareness month, and in honor of it, Bark ATL has a list of tips to prevent obesity in your dog.
Identify the ideal weight of your dog's breed and compare that to your dog's current weight. Once you have determined the weight that your dog is supposed to carry, you can then evaluate the lifestyle choices that you make with your dog. If your dog is overweight, talk to your veterinarian about creating a plan that will help you control, monitor and improve your dog's weight and overall health.
Rule number one: never feed your dog food from your table. Certain foods that humans can eat have the ability to upset the digestive system of dogs. Rather, if you want to give your dog human foods, an alterative option for a healthier diet for your dog would be feeding them non-GMO fresh fruits and vegetables.
In addition, stop purchasing shelf-stable dog food that can last 12-24 months. These dog foods are full of fillers replacing the nutrients dogs really need. When purchasing dog food, be sure to check the nutrition labels for high quality ingredients.
If you like to reward your dog with treats, instead of purchasing the regular treats try aiming for the low-calorie treats instead. Here is a "list" of healthy delicious foods that your dog can eat. Most important of all: reduce calorie intake, fat intake, and increase fibers & nutrients.
It is vital for your dog to exercise frequently. Taking your dog on daily walks is a great start to keeping them healthy especially if they are older. If you have a younger and more active dog, additional exercise can come from: swimming, dog parks to play with other dogs, running around the park together and chasing a laser around. Of course, a visit to Bark ATL will ensure a full day of play as well!
Last, but not least, the final step to dog obesity prevention is following your dog's daily regimen that you establish for them. You can create a consistent regimen by scheduling your dog's meals, using a measuring cup to monitor food intake amount, and set times for your daily walks.
All in all, your dog can live a long and prosperous life and overcome the odds of dog obesity by managing your dog's weight with a healthy diet, exercise, and a consistent regimen.