As years go by, people are getting more conscious of what they eat as well as their methods of weight loss. What we do not think much of, however, is that weight management is a major issue for pet owners, with dogs and cats affected the most. A 2016 study by The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention indicates 54% of dogs and 59% of cats are either overweight or obese. You can check your dog’s adult weight using this online weight chart.

These statistics are really worrying, especially for American pet owners. You would want your pet you live a healthy life, but the problems associated with obesity in dogs are just like in humans – risks of illness and early death. You may wonder how to improve your pet’s life, so this article will give you a few pointers on what to do when you have an overweight pet.

Veterinarian Visits Are Important

One of the most common New Year resolutions that people make is to lose weight and get in shape. You cannot start the journey without first making a visit to your doctor to advise you on your target weight, diet and exercise regime – you have to begin with this process.

This also applies to your dog. The vet does an examination and advises you on the way forward with your pet, giving you an exercise regime and a diet plan while advising you if your dog is in the best condition to begin training.

It also could be that your dog is overweight because of health issues such as diabetes.

Take On The Role Of A Personal Trainer

It is your responsibility as the dog owner to create an exercise plan, with the advice of your veterinarian. Not all regimes will work on all dogs, but you can always start with long walks at a brisk pace. Active dog breeds typically need at least 30 minutes of exercise and 60 minutes of activity daily.

Always allow sufficient time for warmup before participating in any vigorous activities with your dog. This allows your dog to condition their bodies for the exercise.

Swimming, jogging, hiking or playing fetch are all suitable activities which you can enjoy together with your canine companion – while losing those stubborn body fats along the way!

Moderate Your Treats

Many of us are guilty of this.

We overindulge our dog with food and feed him scraps from human food (which can be dangerous too). What you need to remember though, is canine digestive tracts are different from human digestive tracts, and so your dog packs the pounds faster from human food. One way to combat the problem is by using a timer that sets specific times to feed your dog. Be firm with timings, otherwise you can easily feel that you are not feeding your dog enough and start to overindulge it!

In the event you want to give your dog a treat, only do this sparingly. Remember that there are healthy alternatives that your pooch can snack on without packing on the pounds.

Some good examples of healthy snacks are baby carrots and celery cut into small pieces. These are a dog’s favorite because they are cold, crunchy and tasty, while being low in calories.

Pay Extra Attention to Food Labels

Sometimes when buying dog food and treats, you may be guilty of not paying attention to the ingredients in the food. It is however important to be attentive to what and how your dog eats, because this affects their health directly.

Avoid dog foods that use generic animal fat as an ingredient. These fats are derived from unidentified sources which can be rather unhealthy for your dog. Instead, opt for better quality options such as fish oil, salmon oil, canola oil or sunflower oil.

Obesity is a major problem for many people, but it does not need to extend to your pet! Make sure you incorporate exercise and good food for your pet, and it will be back in shape in no time.

Getting in Shape Takes Time

Weight gain and loss do not happen in a short time. Just like humans, dogs with more extreme obesity need more time to lose the pounds. The good news is getting your dog into shape is not very difficult. You just need to build a healthy routine and good diet habits.


About the Author: This post was contributed by Pete Decker, the Lead Editor at The Goody Pet. Pete loves to share his passion for pets through snippets of interesting and helpful information. You can find more of Pete at his website, Twitter or Facebook.