Is your dog looking a little chunky? Just as with us humans, it’s unhealthy for pups to be carrying unnecessary weight.
If you’ve been wondering if your canine companion is carrying extra pounds, here is a simple test and a few things you can do to ensure your dog is healthy.
First, simply feel around your dog’s backbone and ribs. Do you feel the ribcage? Great. If not, your dog needs to shed a few pounds. Only a thin layer of fat should lie between the skin and the bones; any more than that can be unhealthy.
According to a 2011 study, 53 percent of dogs are overweight (0 to 15 percent above their ideal weight) or obese (15 percent or more above their ideal weight).
As with humans, the solution to weight loss involves two main factors: diet and exercise.
Diet: Limit snacks and treats
First, it’s important to remember that treats and snacks should comprise no more than 10 percent of a dog’s diet.
Next, you’ll need to pay attention to the quality of your dog’s food. Ask your dog’s vet for a recommendation on the best diet; depending on your pup’s breed, age, health and size, its needs will vary.
In general, commercial dog food can take care of a dog’s nutritional needs, but some brands include filler products that can pack on weight without contributing to nutritional value. Read labels!
The key is not to overfeed; dogs need two meals a day, depending on the exercise they’re getting. As always, ask your vet what type and how much food to give your pup.
Exercise: You’re the key
To ensure your four-legged friend gets enough exercise, there’s one key ingredient: you.
Dogs are born to work, but many modern dogs are never given a job to do. Instead, they often just sit around, which can lead to a little sideways expansion. You can fix this by taking your dog for walks and playing with her in the yard.
And not only is daily exercise good for your pup’s health, it also can improve mental health, reduce anxious behaviors and alleviate boredom.
If your busy lifestyle doesn’t afford much time for exercise with your dog, consider giving Rover Stay Over a call. Ask about our buddy playgroups! At our Whatcom County dog kennel, we can set up a fun day of exercise for your pup that will be sure to send him home dog tired — and on the path toward better health.