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What to Do when Your Dog is Overweight?
Britain is already being touted as the most obese nation in Western Europe, and a new study by leading canine nutrition expert, Simon Booth, suggests our dogs aren’t doing any better. Booth’s research has found that around 15% of owners overfeed their dogs, and that one in three dogs in the UK is overweight or obese. We love our pooches and want to make them happy with snacks and treats, yet obesity can take a huge toll on canine health, making it impossible for Fido to run, play, and burn the calories he needs to stay agile and mobile. If your dog has a few kilos to shed, fear not. He will be back to his lithe self in no time with a combination of portion control and physical activity. If behavioural issues are stopping you from taking your pup out as much as you’d like, Obedience Class or Puppy Foundation Training at Cotswold Pet Services are excellent ways to build your own and your dog’s self-confidence when it comes to outside walks, dog behaviour, and interaction with other dogs.
The Importance of Portion Control
It is amazing to read that one in four UK show dogs competing at Crufts is overweight! The cause is no more than a failure to property control portions. To work out how much you should be feeding your dog, don’t look at the instructions on the package. Rather, work out how much your dog should weigh. A formula suggested by prominent veterinary specialist, Dr. Karen Becker, is as follows:
Daily calories=Body weight in kg x 30 +70. Thus, if your dog should weight 8 kilos, they should be fed 8x30 + 70 calories, amounting to 310 calories in total a day. If you are feeding a home-prepared meal, use an online calorie counter or the calorie amounts on any packaged foods you use to make your calculations. You need to be very strict when it comes to portion control. If your dog is used to having two meals a day, divide this number of calories between his two usual meals.
Picking Optimal Quality Food
Ensuring your dog consumes good quality protein and other ingredients is key at all times, including when your dog is on a ‘diet’. Avoid foods that are made from poor quality protein sources (which often include beaks and other poor quality ingredients). Your dog’s coat and skin should be in excellent condition and any potential allergens should be avoided. If you like adding vegetables and fruits to your pup’s bowl, or you wish feed these items as snacks, you can continue to do so, whenever your pooch’s total caloric consumption remains within the stipulated total.
Ensuring Fido is Active
Dogs need a good daily cardiovascular workout as much as humans do. A quick walk outside for a pee just won’t cut it when it comes to keeping muscles strong and burning fat. Your dog should lift his heart rate for at least 20-25 minutes. Do your best to ensure this is the case several times a week. If your dog is obese and can only manage a walk, so be it. As he starts shedding the pounds, he will build up more stamina and begin to look forward to long walks and energetic free play.
As hard as putting your dog on a diet can be, it is important if you want to stave off obesity and related conditions such as heart disease. Always see your veterinarian before starting a new regimen, to ensure Fido doesn’t go hungry or lose out on vital nutrients. Finally, make a small sacrifice for your pooch and take him out for a couple of long walks a day, finding a spot in which he can run and feel the true joy of being a dog who is loved.