Working with dogs as I have for the past 20 some years, I’ve noticed a growing number of obese dogs.
And unfortunately, many owners of these grossly overweight dogs don’t seem to care as much as they should. They laugh it off when they should be asking “how can I help my dog lose weight?” It’s really not a laughing matter.
Being overweight is especially detrimental to older dogs. Not only is it hard on their heart and joints, but it’s also creating an inflammation within their bodies that can eventually kill them.
Every fat cell produces potentially toxic compounds which can do major damage including causing cancer, which has reached an epidemic level in our pets.
Veterinarians may prescribe a specific weight loss food for an obese dog, but this isn’t always the best thing to be feeding a dog that needs to lose weight.
First of all, they want you to purchase the food through them which is very expensive for long term feeding. Secondly, they aren’t really taught that much about nutrition in vet school so unfortunately, they aren’t the best guidance counselors on how to feed your aging and/or obese dog.
Stop Giving in to Those Sad Eyes
One thing we need to stop doing as guardians of our senior pets is feeling sorry for them. It’s so easy to give them just one little piece of cheese or lick of ice cream or the last bite of a cookie because they look at us with those hopeful begging eyes.
This adds up over time to produce unhealthy weight gain. Trust me, your dog is still going to love you even if you NEVER give her that little extra bite. And you may actually be giving your dog a couple extra years of life by not overfeeding her.
Being overweight can be a contributing factor to arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, heart problems and hypothyroidism, so it isn’t just an unsightly predicament but a dangerous one. Your dog can actually become sick simply because he or she is overweight and perhaps not being fed the appropriate food for an aging dog.
Why would anyone want to subject their pet to any of these diseases or illnesses when something can be done to prevent them from developing?
Not only that, but we all want to avoid the high cost of having our pets treated by a veterinarian if we can prevent it. Right? I mean, you can hardly walk into a veterinary clinic for less than $100 anymore.
But maybe you’ve let your senior dog get too fat.
What Can You Do To Help Your Dog Lose Weight?
There are a few simple things you can do that will help enormously.
Feed Grain Free Food
First of all, find a food that is high in animal protein and low in carbohydrates – something that is grain free or very low in grain content.
The only reason you would want a food that is low in protein for an older dog is if that dog has been fed low grade dog food containing low quality protein all its life. Being on that kind of food most of a dog’s life can cause liver and kidney problems, so you wouldn’t want to continue giving high protein, worsening the problems.
Taste of the Wild Dry Dog Food, Hi Prairie Canine Formula with Roasted Bison & Venison, 30-Pound BagCANIDAE Grain Free PURE Elements Adult Dog Formula Made With Fresh Lamb, 24 lbsBlue Buffalo Wilderness Adult Rocky Mountain Recipes Red Meat Small Breed – Grain Free
Don’t Feed Too Much
Another important factor in controlling weight gain and getting excess weight off is knowing exactly how much food your dog is getting. Use a measuring cup every time you feed, which should usually be twice a day. If your dog is gaining weight, cut back slightly on each feeding until you get the right amount, or maybe just cut back on the evening meal a little and see what happens.
Don’t make any drastic cut-backs that could cause health problems for your dog. Do it gradually, as with anything.
It’s important to weigh your dog so you know exactly what you’re working with.
I believe you can take your dog to just about any veterinary clinic just to get a weight on her. Maybe weigh in once a month or so to keep an eye on any gain or loss.
Keep notes. Write down the weight and how much food you’re feeding, how much exercise, any change in either. It really doesn’t take up that much time to do a little extra work to save on vet bills and keep your dog healthy.
Provide Some Form of Exercise
The other important factor in controlling your dog’s weight, even with older dogs, is exercise. It’s good for both you and your dog to walk. Depending on the age and condition of your senior dog, you might want to take a 10 minute walk or you may be able to take a half hour walk.
You may even want to take your dog swimming. You might be a little concerned taking a senior overweight dog swimming, but there are life jackets for dogs to keep them from sinking if they get tired or start to panic.
Outward Hound Kyjen 22021 Ripstop Dog Life Jacket Quick Release Easy-Fit Adjustable Dog Life Preserver, Large, Orange.Vivaglory Dog Life Jacket Dog Lifesaver Vest Pet Reflective Life Preserver, Extra Large, YellowGuardian Gear Aquatic Preserver for Dogs, 20hH
Don’t ignore the signs of obesity in your dog.
Not being able to see a waistline when looked at from above, loss of energy, health and/or joint problems, and difficulty in getting up from a lying down position can all be symptoms of obesity and need to be dealt with as soon as possible.
Obviously, prevention is the best option, but if it’s too late for that, take steps to help your dog lose the extra pounds.
Remember – it’s not your dog’s fault that he or she is overweight.
It’s always our fault – us humans. We control what our dogs eat and how much exercise they get.
So please be diligent with your dog and don’t just laugh off the fact that she’s getting fat. Ask yourself “how can I help my dog lose weight?” Keep that weight under control so you can both enjoy a long healthy life together.