Is your dog overweight

Is your dog overweight? Many of us don’t really know when our dogs are too heavy. Since we see them daily, we don’t notice their shape changing.

Veterinary nutritionists estimate that 25 to 40 percent of U.S. dogs are too fat. Weighing 20 percent more than their ideal body weight puts them in this category. An overweight pet is likely to have additional health challenges. Just a few of these include diabetes, Cushing’s disease, arthritis, high blood pressure and breathing difficulty. Also, spinal problems.

So how do you know if your dog is too fat? There are a few things you can do. Take a look at your dog standing over him. If you see an hourglass shape, then he’s okay. However, if you see his sides pooching out, then you’ll know your dog needs to lose some weight. You can also feel your dog’s ribs. If you can feel them easily under a thin layer of fat, then you’re okay. If not, then changes need to be made.

It’s recommended you take your dog to the vet before changing their diet, just to be sure you don’t exclude nutrients they may need. Certainly, table scraps and high calorie treats have to go. Spending more time playing and providing exercise for your pet will help. Changing high calorie treats for more healthy snacks isn’t hard to do. Some good choices include carrots, apples, green beans, cottage cheese and broccoli. And yes, your dog will eat them.

Just like humans, dogs have a more difficult time shedding pounds as adults. The weight loss will be gradual if done properly. The best thing to do is to be conscious of your dog’s food intake as a puppy. I know it’s hard to resist those puppy dog eyes, but it’s the best long term thing you can do for your furry friend. Experts say you should feed a puppy only puppy food, four times a day for three months. Then cut it back to three times a day for the next three months, and then once or twice a day up to one year of age. That’s when you should switch to adult dog food, and always be aware of his weight.

Dogs who are at a healthy weight are happier and more active. It’s no different than we humans. Sometimes we just don’t pay attention or don’t realize how what we feed out pets impacts them, and the length of their lives.