Fat Dogs - How To Get Overweight Dogs to Diet and Slim Down Without Whining
Obesity in dogs is a growing problem, which can cause many problems including heart disease, joint problems, and diabetes. Almost half of dogs in America are fat, especially beagles, dachshunds, basset hounds, and Labrador retrievers. Before your dog reaches the point where they need insulin shots, you can slim them down. It will take almost a year, but it's worth it.
Even puppies shouldn't be overweight ? all dogs need to be slim, not fat, to be healthy. A dog is at the right weight if you can feel the ribs without excess fat covering. From the side, the dog's belly should be tucked up, and from above, there should be a noticeable waist in front of the hips. When you feel his ribs, they should be shallow indents which you can count, although you shouldn't be able to count them just by looking.
A major cause of overweight dogs is feeding them table scraps. While it is fun to feed your dog leftover food, there are serious consequences. One is, of course, that the dog will become unsure of who is the alpha in the family. The alpha is the one who eats first, and if the dog is being fed before or during the meal, the hierarchy of the family becomes unclear. Also, table scraps may not provide the right nutrition for a dog. For example, many dogs fed table scraps can get vitamin A toxicity, and excess protein and phosphorus. If a dog is fed exclusively table scraps, they usually won't get enough calcium and can get over-activity of the parathyroid glands.
To reduce the weight of fat dogs, one option is to just keep to the same feeding schedule, but feed the dog less, starting by feeding the dog only ¾ as much as you do now. This option, however, can produce a dog that whines a lot, so many owners can add bulky vegetables to the food. You can also get special low-calorie foods, which are high in bulk so the dog feels better fed. Dogs don't usually like low-calorie foods, but they will eventually eat it and get used to it.
Another option, which can keep the whining down, is to change the feeding schedule to twice a day instead of once a day. Never leave food out all day long. Treats need to stop being given, but instead of a treat, overweight dogs can be fed one of the two small meals. If you really want to give your dog a treat, use a carrot or an apple.
A balanced dog food is at least a quarter protein and 1600 kilocalories of energy per pound, but if the dog is not active, overweight dogs will need less food. For canned dog food, the calorie intake is measured at 500 calories per pound, although if the dog food is all meat, it's 600 calories a pound. For dry food, 1500 calories per pound, and semi-soft or moist food is 1350 per pound. So if a dog weighs less than 11 pounds, feed them about 4 ounces of dry food a day. Up to 22 pounds, feed 5 ounces, 22-50 pounds gets 11 ounces, 55-75 pounds gets 17 ounces, and 75 pounds or more get 35-30 ounces of dry food.
All these calculations don't necessarily work, though, as each dog metabolizes food differently and has different activity levels. Remember, a dog doesn't have to eat every day, and can go up to five days without eating. Also, spaying or neutering the dog does not cause obesity.
If your dog only nibbles at the food, don't be fooled. Nibblers tend to eat more in the long run than gobblers, and thus gain weight quicker. And if the obese dog is picky, the dog will eventually become accustomed to the healthy food, it may just take a while.
Once your dog is on a diet, keep track of the dog's weight. If the obese dog has lost even a little weight over two weeks, you're on the right track.
Walks should be given regularly (a couple times a day), but don't overdo it at first if the dog is really fat. Moderation in everything is the key to seriously overweight dogs. The goal should be double the amount of the walks your dog is getting now. Once your dog is trim, though, it's good to walk your dog a lot ? most dogs don't get enough exercise.
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