You’ve consulted your veterinarian, you’ve committed to longer and more frequent walks, you even made a new eating plan. However nothing seems to be working – your pooch is still a wobbling meatball.
There’s nothing wrong with getting your dog a bit chunky from all the pampering. But when it turns into canine obesity, it’s something to be taken seriously. Obesity in house dogs can be the cause of many health issues in dogs. For instance bowel obstruction, intestine inflammation and other digestive illnesses that can even turn out fatal for older and weaker dogs.
If you’ve noticed your overweight dog is having difficulties getting back in shape, you may want to consider these 4 common traps owners fall into when changing their dog’s diet and exercising routines.
1. The Calorie Math: What Goes In, Must Come Out
Any dog will eat himself into oblivion if he has access to food. It’s up to you, the owner, to be in control of your dog’s bowl content. However, as stupid as it may sound, some dog parents just don’t want to admit to themselves they are the ones stuffing their pets to obesity.
Sometimes it’s difficult to be strict and say a firm NO to those begging eyes and all the nudging and wining. Despite it always think of what’s best for their health and wellbeing. Remember that, when it comes to feeding and caring, you are in charge, which actually makes the whole process of dog calorie counting much easier, doesn’t it?
Make a detailed plan of the amount of food you will provide during the day. Luckily, most dog foods, such as dry kibble or canned food, is labeled for calorie amount and ingredient specifications. However, don’t fall into the trap of food restricting.
Some owners think that if they cut back a bit on the portion size, they solved the problem. It’s about quality and not only quantity.
Your dog may be losing weight, but at the same time becoming malnourished if the food quality is poor and doesn’t contain all the necessary ingredients.
Depending on your dog’s breed, size and age you need different diet plans and exercise regimens. There is an abundance of resources online, like Totally Goldens and other pet-related websites, that offer information on dog care. Including breed characteristics, dog behavior and much more. Get educated about your furry friend and you’ll see the results in no time.
Don’t forget the hidden dangers of treats. We all get easily distracted by our pooch’s cuteness that we sometimes lose count of treats and cookies. Well, those have calories too. Simply count the treats beforehand and include the calories in the diet plan. If you by any chance succumb to your dog’s adorableness, just prolong the next walk or play fetch a little bit longer – it’s simple math.
2. The Secret Providers
People often say dogs and their owners look alike and this observation may extend further from just plain looks. If you think about it, your dog will lead a lifestyle that you, as the owner, create. The amount of food, exercising, playing, cuddling, patting, traveling, socializing, etc. all depend on your daily habits and behavior. You may be surprised to see that you’re leading a similar lifestyle as your beloved pooch.
If you have weight problems and if you eat a lot, don’t go out much and prefer spending time indoors, that behavior may reflect on your dog’s health.
Really reexamine your eating habits and determine whether what you consider as a “healthy amount of dog food” is really what your pup should be getting.
Furthermore, another (not so uncommon) reason why your dog can’t seem to lose weight is that it may be fed more than you are aware of. If you live with a partner, a family, or even have nosy neighbors, your dog may be getting more meals a day than needed.
A simple solution is to establish a feeding schedule and decide beforehand about the feeding time. Make sure that everyone around you is on the same page and aware of the dog’s weight problem. If not treated, dog obesity can lead to a shorter life span, diabetes, even arthritis, and other devastating illnesses.
3. Stealing From a Fellow Pet
If you live in a multi-pet environment, you’ve probably noticed that nothing passes by a hungry drooling canine. Dogs like to munch on cat food and often steal food from their fellow dog’s bowl as well.
If your obese dog is on a special regimen, make sure to keep track of your pets’ meals and eating.
In case you have a cat,
puthis bowl on a surface out of the dog’s reach, or simply feed the pets in separate rooms.
If this sounds too messy, try to be present during the feeding time and watch your dog’s behavior. This may seem time-consuming, but if you feed your pets once or twice a day, it’s a small change that can go a long way for your pup’s wellness.
4. Hormonal Issues
If you’ve ruled out all the above-mentioned recommendations, it might be time to visit the vet and check your dog’s hormones.
Hormonal imbalance, such as hypothyroidism or Cushing’s syndrome may be the cause of your canine’s weight problems.
There isn’t a diet or an exercising regimen in the world that can burn fat if the problem is hormonal. If your dog is gaining weight unusually fast despite changes in diet and exercising, you should consult a veterinarian. Luckily, these conditions can be treated with medication that can put your dog back on track with healthy weight control.
In the end, if your canine isn’t suffering from a condition, it all boils down to the owner. It’s our responsibility as dog parents to be informed about the potential dangers of overfeeding our furry friends. As well as to be aware of our habits and behavior that directly influence our pets.