Investing in the health of your dog is one of the most important ways you can express your love and commitment to your canine counterpart. This includes taking the steps necessary to make sure your dog maintains a healthy weight. Because of their small frames, even a few extra pounds can make a significant impact on your dog’s health. If you notice that your pup has packed on some extra pounds, It may be time to take control of their weight and employ weight-loss efforts.
Learning what help is available to you and your pooch doesn’t have to be daunting. There are many resources that specialize in weight loss techniques and programs that will help you make your dog’s weight loss goals a success and contribute positively to their quality of life.
After all, any pet owner will agree; a healthy dog is a happy dog.
Spotlight on Dog Obesity Statistics
As reported last year by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP), the canine obesity epidemic continues to be a concern. In 2018, 55.8% of dogs are categorized as overweight or obese as diagnosed by a healthcare professional. This estimates that a current 50 million dogs are living at an unhealthy weight, with professionals expecting this number to continue to rise.
According to the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA), some of the factors that contribute to pet obesity include:
- Age; obesity rates rise as pets grow older,
- Breed; both very large and very small breeds have higher instances of unhealthy weight,
- Overeating, and
- Lack of physical activity
Some of the negative health impacts that an unhealthy weight can have on your dog include: developing arthritis, diabetes, kidney and heart disease, high blood pressure, as well as a higher risk of developing many forms of cancer.
Most Effective Weight Lost Strategies For Dogs
In a survey conducted by APOP, pet owners relay the two most successful strategies for pet weight loss are as follows:
- Calorie reduction; with 71% of pet owners finding it to be an effective strategy, and
- Increased exercise; which was found to be effective by 66% of respondents.
Managing Your Dog’s Diet
While it’s clear that calorie reduction is a highly effective method of promoting weight loss in dogs,picking the best dietary plan for your dog specifically is much less obvious. Dr. Ernie Ward, veterinarian and co-author of the peer-reviewed American Animal Hospital Association’s (AAHA) Weight Management Guidelines for Dogs and Cats, address the plentiful number of dog food choices available to dog owners and that this may contribute to confusion on how best to nourish your pooch, as many choices offer conflicting dietary advice.
Dr. Ward, and many other healthcare professionals strongly recommend that owners look to and collaborate with veterinary professionals to determine an individualized dietary strategy for your dog.
Fitness Strategies For You Dog
There are as many ways to keep your dog active as there are breeds of dogs. Going on longer walks (veterinarians suggest at least one brisk 30-minute walk daily), using squeaky toys and balls to encourage play, and implementing variety in physical activities to keep your pup engaged in playful exercises are just a few ways to keep your dog active and healthy.
Dog fitness programs are effective tools in encouraging weight loss. These programs are designed for your dog by professionals to address your pet’s needs while taking your specific health goals into consideration. Consider one-on-one coaching where you and your dog will meet with a certified canine fitness coach and you can learn about canine fitness strategies and how they can best fit your dog’s needs.
Another effective and beneficial method of exercise for your dog is swimming. Swimming is a whole-body workout for dogs and provides both cardio and strength training without putting strain on their joints. Many dogs adapt very quickly to swimming and an added benefit is that swimming is one of the many healthy activities you and your dog can enjoy together!
Sit Now Stay offers Kansas City’s only indoor dog pool . Swim lessons and water therapy are available with options for both private and group sessions that fit you and your pup’s lifestyle and needs.
Healthy Weight, Happy Dog
Taking the first steps in managing dog obesity is one of the most loving things you can do for your furry best friend. There are many strategies to choose from when developing your dog’s weight loss plan; don’t hesitate to involve professionals to get started on a confident and knowledgeable foot. Your dog will be happy you did.
Call Sit Now Stay today at (913) 372-3101 and let our loving canine professionals help you and your pooch along their healthy, happy journey.