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Overweight Dogs

Manage Weight Loss for Dogs

Overweight dogs are not healthy. Use healthy dog food recipes and make your own dog food to encourage weight loss for dogs. An overweight pet results in health issues; dog weight loss is manageable.

Just like humans, dogs can become overweight and face the consequences of serious and numerous health issues related to their joints, heart, lungs, liver and kidneys.

They will also face more risks if they have to go into surgery.

Weight Loss for Dogs

Overweight dogs have less energy and lose their natural inclination to play and exercise, instead becoming lazy and ultimately requiring help from their owners to get them back into shape.

A dog can not decide alone to go on a diet or exercise plan but they will no doubt have more energy for life when the dog weight loss is felt; and the ability to play and exercise more will make for a happier dog.

In nearly all cases, a dog will become overweight for the same reasons as we humans do. The intake of more calories than they burn off will increase body fat and cause them to be overweight or obese.

It is rare, but some dogs may have an increase in weight due to physiological reasons. More often than not though, it is down to overeating teamed with a lack of exercise.

Overweight Dogs

There are many examples of why a dog might be carrying more fat than it needs, a few which we can take a look at now:

  • It may be down to their ancestors - the wolves. Dogs are born with an instinct to scavenge and know how to tease you into giving them that last morsel of food. We are familiar with the 'puppy-dog eyes' look. Despite whether they are hungry or not, a dog will rarely pass at the opportunity to feed. It is for this reason that a dog, if it has the chance, will overeat.
  • Staying indoors. Dogs need plenty of exercise (daily), not only for their physical health but for their mental well-being. They love to be outdoors, to run wild through fields or at the beach, to be able to swim in lakes or the ocean. If they are confined indoors, or in a small yard, they will not be getting the exercise they need - often resulting in a bored and overweight dog.
  • Getting old. It is no fault of the dog that once they reach the age of five or six, their metabolism begins to slow down. They won't be able to burn off calories like they had in the past and without careful attention to their dietary needs, they will gain weight.
  • Breed of dog. Certain breeds of dog can be more prone to becoming overweight than other dogs, in particular - Basset Hounds, Beagles, Cairn Terriers, Cocker Spaniels, Collies, Dachshunds, Labrador Retrievers and Shetland Sheepdogs.
  • Gourmet eating. Some dog owners are rather extravagant when feeding their dogs. Offering anything from pizza slices to ice cream; sometimes on a daily basis. It is common sense that such 'junk' foods will not help a dog to stay in shape.
  • Rewards for good behavior. This reason is quite common. Entertaining friends and family by making your dog perform tricks and offering them 'treats' might seem harmless. However, more often than not, especially in larger families, it is hard to keep track of just how many times this is occurs. Overeating results in overweight dogs!

Use Healthy Dog Food Recipes to Make Your Own Dog Food

Why make your own dog food? Because you can control the ingredients; no fillers, no preservatives, no sugars, no extra fats. Even though it takes time to produce your own homemade dog food, it is an extremely healthy option. Making your own dog food is a good choice for dogs with stomach ailments, allergies and/or weight issues.

My mother's dog is 16 years old and has a very sensitive stomach. Mum cooks ground lamb, rice, carrots and green beans once a week and freezes it in individual containers and defrosts it as require daily for her dog's meals (her dog Peppy, is a well-loved toy poodle).

If you or your vet notice an increase in the weight of your dog, it is time to take action. Overweight dogs should be checked for any problems linked to the heart and thyroid; and also for diabetes.

Once diagnosed as having health and/or weight issues, work closely with your veterinarian to decide on the best meal plan for your dog. Figure out how many calories your dog needs for optimal health and try to stick to diet or exercise guidelines.

It is wrong to assume that dogs need to eat on a regular basis. Leaving food out all day for them will only encourage them to eat more than they should. Plan specific meal times so you can keep track of how much they are eating.

Take away the dish after 20 minutes or so (even if there is still some food in the dish). Always make sure your dog has access to fresh water.

Owners who use treats to show their dog affection, or as a reward for good behavior, should change the habit and take them for a walk or play with them in the garden instead. Or if you use treats, make them healthy treats. (Our dog, Harley, loves raw carrots!)

Manage Weight Loss for Dogs

Start your dog's weight loss program by reducing the size of meals by a third. Record your dog's weight every two weeks. If they are losing weight, you are on the right track. If not, reduce the amount again and continue until your dog starts to shed some pounds.

Your veterinarian can be a lot of help when planning a diet for overweight dogs. Follow the vet's guidelines and be prepared for the long haul. Results won't happen overnight but the effort will be worth it; your dog will be healthier, happier and more active.

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