Chow Hounds: How to Manage Obese Dogs October 01, 2013 11:06

 

Is there a chow hound in your family? Obesity is a growing problem among both canines and humans in the United States. Among both groups, over eating and limited activity can lead to added stress on a the body, heart disease, diabetes, and other health complications. And while many people aspire to improve their quality of life through exercise, what about your pudgy pooch? As warm and cuddly as a corpulent canine might sound, a healthy pooch is more likely to be a happy pooch.

So what causes canine obesity? How can you tell if your dog is overweight? And how can you work with your dog to improve the health of everyone in the family? Just like in humans, canine obesity occurs when dogs consume more energy in the form of food than they use in their daily activities. Certain breeds such as labs, beagles, and pugs, are more susceptible to overeating, but among all breeds, older dogs are particularly susceptible. You should check with your veterinarian to determine your pet’s appropriate daily caloric requirement. Remember that all dogs foods are not the same, and you should check with your veterinarian to find a food that’s right for Fido.  You should be able to determine if your dog is a hog by using a couple simple indicators. In most dog breeds, you should be able to feel your dog’s backbone and ribs. You should be able to notice a waste-like curve between your dog’s ribs and hips when looking at your dog from above. The abdomen of your dog should also feature a “tuck” from the back of the rib-cage to the inner thighs. Your dog should be able to participate in an appropriate amount of physical activity without exhibiting too many signs of physical exhaustion.

So what should you do if your dog is overweight? Increase your dog’s regular physical activity by creating and maintaining a regular exercise schedule. Just like with people, dogs appreciate regular exercise whether it be a walk around the block or a daily game of catch in the yard. Regular exercise will not only burn calories but may even reduce your dog’s appetite.  Use a LINKS-IT pet tag connector to connect tags to your dogs collar to eliminate the risk of losing tags during exercise. LINKS-IT also prevents your dog’s tags from excessive jingling during exercise and can prevent the tags from uncomfortably bumping into your dog’s chest.

Other lifestyle changes may also help your pup lose his or her excess pudge You may want to consider excusing your dog from the room during meal times. It will be easier for Fido to resist those delicious table temptations from the other room! Instead of feeding your dog once or twice during the day, try giving your dog several smaller meals throughout the day that total his or her daily amount of food. And most importantly, don’t forget to celebrate your dog’s positive attitude towards health and physical fitness with plenty of pets and hugs.