Do you know that according to a 2017 survey released by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese? A number that seems to continue to rise each year. As with humans, pet obesity is becoming a global issue - and some would say it already is. Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and founder of APOP says, “Pet owners think their obese dog or cat is a normal weight, making confronting obesity difficult. No one wants to think their pet is overweight, and overcoming denial is our first battle.” (source: American Kennel Club)
Ignoring your pup’s extra pounds can lead to some serious health issues and conditions including diabetes, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure, orthopedic problems, ligament injuries, skin disease, heart and respiratory diseases, and decreased life expectancy. If you’re unsure if your buddy is overweight, it’s a good idea to consult your veterinarian first. They will be able to provide recommendations for weight management and put your fur baby on the right track to good health. In addition to talking with your vet, consider implementing the following steps:
1. Keep a food diary: Not unlike other weight loss programs, track how much food you’re giving your pooch. Measure out their food and write down how much they’re eating. Be sure to include any snacks or treats. Also, if you’re not already, start to set a meal schedule rather than free-feeding. Set the food down at a certain time and pick up any uneaten food after 10-15 minutes.
2. Limit treats: We know, we know… this is much easier said than done especially when Max is looking at you with those begging eyes but many treats and biscuits you pick up from the store are packed with calories and may be contributing to your pup’s weight more than you think. Look for low-calorie treats or even opt for fruit and vegetables like banana or apple slices. Here’s a list of fruits and vegetables that are safe for your dog.
3. Get moving: Consistent, daily exercise is one of the most effective methods to help your pup’s weight and overall health. If your canine pal isn’t accustomed to consistent walks, begin with a short stroll and eventually begin to add on more time/distance as their endurance improves. Opt for an early morning or evening walk if you don’t have time during the day or can’t hire a dog walker. Remember to equip them with a safety reflective vest for low-light times of the day. There’s also no reason your pet can’t exercise in the event of inclement weather! Play fetch and throw a toy to your pet! Sprinting will elevate their heart rate and increase their overall fitness. Check out some of our fun toys that your pet will love!
4. With spring just around the corner, this is a perfect time to commit to your pet’s health and fully enjoy the warmer days ahead! Be sure to visit4LegsFriend.com to pick up all the products you need for a happy, healthy dog.