Having an overweight pet requires some extra care and consideration into the steps we take in their daily routine. Sometimes, we can do everything right, and they just won’t lose the weight. Other times, you may adopt an overweight dog from a shelter and will need to take heed in getting him or her back to a healthy weight. Take a look at a few options to consider when helping your dog shed the extra pounds in order to stay happy and healthy.
A Healthy Diet
Pretty easy to assume, right? But there are so many choices out there today for brands, textures, age brackets, and ingredients that make this not such an easy decision anymore. Be sure to really take a look at what your dog needs and research the best ingredients before purchasing just any dog food. Try to steer clear of artificial colors, fillers, and keep it as natural as possible. Changing up your dog food should be done in small increments, but can be done to provide a much healthier choice for your overweight dog.
Dogs quickly become a member of the family and we want to show our love and affection by providing treats. Maybe treats are used in the house for training purposes only; either way, be sure to do the same research on treats as you would their food. Trade store-bought treats for healthy homemade treats. Farmer’s markets and local businesses are growing in the natural pet treats industry every day and could help lose those unnecessary calories being given to your beloved puppy.
We feed our dogs, love them and cuddle with them on the couch, but what ways do we ensure they use the energy we feed them? Taking them on walks is a great way, but perhaps something to get their heart rate up a couple of times a week will help improve any weight issues they have and help maintain their weight once you reach their healthy weight goal. Depending on the breed, some dogs require more exercise daily than others and could suffer drastic weight fluctuations if they don’t expel that energy. We love our dogs and show them affection, typically, by giving them treats, but the real love comes in keeping them happy AND healthy.
There are even exercises you can do with your dog that will keep you both fit and active together. Playing fetch or a form of “tag” will get you both running around the yard, improving flexibility of the legs and limbs, and burn those calories off from lunch. If dog parks are an option, there are usually some obstacles there for the dogs to utilize. Instead of sitting on the bench while your dog wanders slowly, try using these either as training tools or interactive toys for you both.
We can’t always be home to play with our pups. Work, appointments and other engagements sometimes require the dog to stay at home. When you can’t be home with your pet, give them something to play with that still gets them moving or thinking. Puzzle treat boxes, chew toys, and electronic or mechanical toys to chase are great options. These toys can help your overweight dog to keep moving, even in little increments to allow as much calorie-burning as possible between naps.
Dogs can get depressed just like we can, and even walking every day might not help if your dog is sad from everyday boredom. If it is affordable, consider getting your dog a friend to play with during the day. This will keep them both entertained, but also give them that companionship they need on a regular basis. A happy dog is a healthy dog! If they continue to show signs of depression or solitude, it may be time to consult a professional.
Consulting a Vet for Regular Check-ups
Regular check-ups with your dog’s veterinarian will help to keep your dog’s weight in check from the beginning and catch any health concerns that may arise. Dogs can have very similar health issues as humans and may need medication to assist in their healthy lifestyles. Have your dog’s thyroid hormone levels checked, and if they are already overweight, you may want to keep track of the serving sizes and calorie intake to show your vet as well. Sometimes a good nutritionist can help you and your dog get back to happy and healthy!
These are just a few ways you can help your overweight dog get back to optimal size. Getting that extra weight off will give your dog a healthier heart, and an extra few tail wags each day! Just remember to keep exercising, eating right, and check in with your vet as needed.