Being a pet parent means that you're responsible for everything your pet requires, from food, shelter, and their safety, to their overall health and well-being. One of the important aspects of your dog's physical well-being is its weight. You might find your chubby fat dog adorable as it wobbles around the house - but the reality could be that your dog is at risk for some serious health problems.
You must maintain your dog's fitness and keep them physically active throughout their lives. One of the main reasons you should be concerned about your dog's weight is that there are plenty of medical disorders associated with increased weight.
Why Obesity is Life Threatening for Your Dog
Obesity in dogs is closely linked to some serious medical conditions. A few of the common disorders that potentially lead to, or are a consequence of, obesity are:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Joint injuries
- High blood pressure
- Intra-abdominal cancers
Additional to the medical concerns, overweight dogs usually have a shorter life span compared to dogs that are fit and within the range of their ideal weight.
How Can You Help Your Dog Lose Weight?
One of the leading factors that result in dogs becoming overweight is an increase in their calorie intake. However, if you notice your dog becoming chunky without making any changes to its diet, we recommend making a trip to the vet's clinic. Your vet will conduct a physical medical exam and run some blood tests to rule out any underlying medical conditions.
If your vet confirms that your dog is free from serious conditions but just slightly overweight - here are some tips that can help you shed the extra pounds off your dog in a healthy way.
Watch Out for the Food
Similar to humans, weight loss for dogs depends on two major factors: food and exercise. To manage your dog's weight, you must first determine the number of calories it requires per day. A dog's dietary requirements are influenced by the breed, size, and activity level.
Gradually Increase Exercise
Although food is key for your pet's weight loss journey, exercise is just as important to shed the extra weight and maintain it. Walks are essential for dogs - not just for exercise but more for their mental stimulation as well. Typically, daily exercise should include 20-minute walks twice a day. But depending on the breed, some dogs require at least an hour of physical exercise. To shed extra pounds off your pooch, increase the minutes of daily exercise in intervals, usually by 20% every week.
Consult with your vet and ask about the different types of physical activities you can do with your dog to help them lose weight.