- Pets and Animals
Your Dog's Too Fat
Curing Obesity In Your Dog Is Strictly Up To You
Your dog won't be insulted, but you might be when told he's too fat. Everybody who's not living in a cave somewhere knows that obesity is a big no-no, it's bad for health, it's bad for appearance and it's bad for long life.
All of that said, nobody likes or wants to hear the "too fat" admonition, whether directed at themselves...or their dogs. But denial is really self-defeating. Nothing gets fixed. Nobody wins. For the moment, forget yourself and concentrate on your "Best Friend." He/she is powerless to defend against obesity without your help. So, recognition of the situation becomes your first step in the long march toward fixing it .
If you suspect or know your dog is overweight, there are several means available to double check:
- Ask your veterinarian for his opinion and advice.
- Check the breed standard online at AKC.org
- Query the breed club website (if your dog is a purebred)
Finding out the suggested "ideal" weight for your dog will provide a benchmark you should strive to attain. If your pooch is a crossbreed or mongrel, you'll have to estimate a weight goal based on his or her size: small, medium, large or giant, and do some serious guesswork. Next, with your target in mind, is a good action plan.
Before formulating the plan, it's a good idea to give thought to how your buddy got to be fat in the first place. Start with his diet. What are you feeding him and how much? Most average owners tend to dole out their dog's dinner based on manufacturers' recommendations printed on their packaging. Without resorting to conspiracy theories, it wouldn't seem too untoward to believe that manufacturers' suggest inflated portions simply because they want owners to buy more of the product.
Moreover, many owners, in their over generosity, are inclined to add a little extra chow to make sure Fido won't leave his bowl hungry. Cut that out immediately, and begin reducing portions by at least 15 to 20%. By using a measuring cup and a bit of experimenting, you can monitor your dog's intake over time, increasing or decreasing it as needed.
Now, think about how many treats you hand out every day to Jenny, just because you love her and she's so cute. There isn't a canine alive who's not a consummate con artist, able to wangle snacks out of even the most hardhearted owners. Learn to resist at all costs, limiting healthy treats to one or two daily. You'll be adding real love and an important step to her weight loss program.
Phase two on the road to "Slimville" is built on exercise. Since failure to provide enough of it doubtless largely contributed to your dog's overweight condition, you must resolve to initiate a regular schedule of proper activity. This should include a 25-minute daily walk or a 10-15-minute jog. Okay, so maybe you're not a jogger. Maybe your own daily work schedule or physical condition might mitigate against even a 15-minute walk every day. Such a situation will call for different types of exercise.
Playing fetch ball for a few minutes can provide a reasonable substitute workout for a walk. Also, meriting consideration is use of a treadmill, which eliminates taking your dog outdoors to exercise. Obvious advantages of this include avoiding trips outside in bad weather, along with the ease of scheduling according to your own needs and requirements.
Treadmill use for dog exercise has recently mushroomed in popularity for its practicality. In versions specifically made for canines, these machines typically mirror the benefits ascribed to use by people: weight loss, muscle toning and increased aerobic function. Although treadmills for people can be used for dogs, they are not ideal.
All the convenience of doggie treadmills comes at a price. The two most most popular manufacturers are found at Pawwws.com and Jog-a-dog.com. Their machines run from $599 to $1,925. Size of dog determines the specifications of the units and, of course, the cost. Important features include side guard rails and easily accessible controls. Instructions for assembly and proper use are included.
However you choose to provide your dog with the necessary formula to regain his ideal weight and say "Sayonara" to fat, the bottom line will make him live longer and probably behave better than ever before. "Thin is in."