If you are a caring dog owner you will want to shower your dog with love.
Along with this love go many other things, often food treats.
This is understandable, especially if your dog was rescued. He or she may have been thin needing building up. Also food treats help build a bond between dog and owner and can act as a reward; very useful during training.
However, somewhere along the line this may have got out of hand.
Perhaps now you are almost killing your dog with kindness?
Just like people once those extra pounds are in place they are not always easy to shift, but shift they must. Carrying extra weight can damage a dog's health and quality of life and in some cases will be life threatening.
Firstly let me say that some dogs do have health problems which cause an increase in weight. This could be a thyroid condition, for example. If your dog is fat, especially very fat, consult your veterinarian before starting it on a healthy eating regime. This will enable you to exclude any under lying health problems and enable your vet to monitor the animal's weight loss.
So is your dog overweight?
Well first things first then, is your dog really overweight. Try to look at your pet with an honest eye. Look for the signs and symptoms that the dog is overweight. Hopefully your dog will not be grossly overweight. This could mean that the pet is only just overweight or will soon be. Does your dog have a "waist" of sorts?
Like people some dogs are more prone to become overweight than others, and some also love their food a little too much.
Run your hand along the side of your dog. Can you feel the animal's ribs? Can you see them slightly? Healthy weight dogs often have their ribs slightly showing. Is your dog panting for breath at the slightest exercise?
All of these are good indicators about your dog's weight and state of health.
Weigh your dog on weighing scales. You may need to weigh yourself first and then weigh yourself carrying the dog. Take the first weight away from the second to see the dog's weight. If your dog is large or a wriggler you may need help to weigh the dog. If your dog is very large weighing it at the veterinarian's will be appropriate. They have the best scales for such a task.
Research the Internet and your local library in order to check the ideal weight for your animal. There will probably be a few kilos or pounds either way but you should at least have a guide now. If your dog is obese consult your veterinarian; this way your dog's progress and health can be monitored during any weight loss program.
How to help your dog lose weight
A dog is reliant on you for what food goes into its tummy. FACT. If the animal is obese it is down to YOU.
There are many ways that you can help your dog lose weight and here are a few:
Overall you love your dog so be kind and make the right choices about its diet. Much of the time it is about sensible buying and feeding. Helping a dog lose weight is a lot like when we humans need to lose weight. Take a sensible but long approach. Weight lost fast is not usually going to stay off. Make sure that you weigh your dog from time to time to ensure that you are getting the right balance. However you will probably be able to see the weight loss with your own eyes.
Dogs that carry extra fat will usually have a shorter life. Dogs that are overweight, or even obese, will suffer from more health problems such as heart, breathing and joint problems.
A natural environment for a dog would mean it would be lean and nimble. Let's face it, he or she would have to be to survive. Dogs nowadays are often rather spoilt and usually want for nothing. This can mean that a dog uses far less energy than the animal would have done in the wild. However, the owner may still be feeding the dog as if it had to fight for its survival, on a daily basis, and in all weathers. In reality the dog may curl up near a radiator for most of the day. The dog will not usually have to fight for its food also.
Your pet dog is a domesticated animal that has evolved over the years. Show that you really love this dog and treat it as such.
If you ignore the signs, your dog's health will suffer and, if nothing else, you could be facing hefty vet bills.