Many people have begun at least one New Year with a resolution to lose weight so they can be healthier. Dogs, on the other hand, can't make the decision on their own to lose weight, nor do they understand the importance of weight loss to their health. It's up to their humans to make that decision for them. If you are a dog owner, do you know why an overweight pet is an unhealthy pet and how to help your dog lose weight?
Know the health risks of overweight dogs
Extra weight can cause a lot of health problems in dogs like it can in humans, particularly diabetes, joint complications, heart disease, high blood pressure, respiratory problems, decreased liver function, digestive disorders, low immune system, low stamina, and on and on. What this means for your pet and you as their human is a decrease in quality of life and longevity. That means no more chasing after balls, no more fetching sticks, no more walks in the park . . . maybe not ever again. Cue the depressing music.
Develop a nutritional weight loss plan
Before you change your dog's food, it's important to take your buddy to a veterinarian for a complete workup. You want to make sure there are no underlying health concerns that may need a particular type of supplement or a more aggressive nutritional plan, such as diabetes. Ask the veterinarian to develop a nutritional weight-loss diet and exercise program. He or she will likely suggest a low-carb, low-calorie diet for your canine companion and may even recommend a particular brand.
However, do not switch the food suddenly, as doing so could cause your dog to have an upset stomach, followed by nausea and/or diarrhea. Slowly switch the dog food over to the new type by replacing a small portion at a time. This should largely depend on your dog's breed and size, the pre-diet health of your dog, and the results of their health assessment by the veterinarian.
If your dog passes the physical assessment and is given the go-ahead to do physical activity, get moving with your pet! It's the perfect opportunity for you to get in shape together! Go for a brisk walk or play fetch. Always keep a bottle of fresh water and a bowl with you for your dog as it will probably need to quench its thirst much sooner than when it was a young pup and in a good weight range. For more information, contact an animal hospital like the Kenmore Veterinary Hospital.