Obesity isn't just a problem that affects humans. It can also affect your pets. In fact, recent studies show that just over half of all US pets are overweight or obese. Obesity can cause serious health risks for your four-legged friends. If you've noticed that your dog has been packing on the pounds, here are some steps you can take to curtail the problem.
Visit the Vet
Before you begin your overweight pet on any weight-loss plan, it's important that you pay a visit to the veterinarian. Most weight gain is caused by over-eating or inactivity. However, in some cases, weight gain can also be a sign of a serious health condition such cushings disease or hypothyroidism. This is particularly true if the weight gain came on suddenly or your pet is experiencing other health problems associated with the weight gain, such as difficulty breathing.
Go for Walks
Exercise is an excellent way to get your dog back in shape. This is particularly true if your dog tends to be a bit of a couch potato. Get your walking shoes on and take your dog for a walk at least once a day. If your dog is severely obese or out of shape, start with just once around the block and build up from that. Continue slowly increasing the time until you're walking for about 20 minutes each time you go out.
Eliminate Table Scraps
Table scraps may seem like a good way to make your dog feel like part of the family, but they're not entirely healthy for them. Table scraps can add unwanted pounds to your dog and can prevent them from being hungry for their own healthy dog food. To help your dog lose those unwanted pounds, say no to table scraps.
Spread Food Around
If your dog is a speedy eater, you'll want to slow meal time down a bit. Speed eating can lead to overeating. To help your dog eat slower, you can spread the food out in smaller quantities. Try dividing your dog's food into several bowls and placing the bowls throughout the kitchen – or feeding area. Your dog will need to move from bowl to bowl in order to eat a full meal, which means it will eat slower and get some much needed exercise.
If your dog has developed a weight problem, there are some simple things you can do to help get things back under control. The suggestions here will help you get your dog back into shape. If your dog experiences complications due to their weight problem, take them to an animal hospital like Robert Irelan DVM.