Help Your Pet Avoid Obesity

August 7, 2012

Your dog can pack on the pounds without you realizing how many until the damage is done, so don’t wait for it to happen.  Begin right now to keep Fido in excellent physical condition and prevent him from gaining weight.

  1. Follow your veterinarian’s dog feeding guidelines.  He or she is the expert and can give you the best advice.  Breeders and other dog owners like me can offer suggestions, but for your pet’s safety, always go to the professional.  I know from experience how easy it is to overfeed a dog without realizing it.
  2. Buy the best dog food you can afford.  Best doesn’t always mean the most expensive.  Learn to read the labels.  We purchase our pet food at Walmart, and it doesn’t contain any bad ingredients.  It really is possible to buy decent dog and cat food at discount prices.  Healthier food should save you money on vet bills down the road.
  3. Eliminate free feeding.  Many dog owners leave a bowl of kibble down for their dogs to munch own whenever the snacking bug hits.  That’s not a good idea for a dog with a tendency to gain weight.  Feed your dog only at designated times each day.  Our adult  dogs are fed twice a day.
  4. Plan daily exercise for your dog.  Walks are good.  Playing ball is better and burns more calories as he runs to fetch the ball.  Swimming is great exercise, if your dog enjoys the water.  Whatever method you choose, daily exercise is crucial to your pet’s ability to maintain the correct weight and muscle tone.
  5. Choose low-calorie treats for Fido.  If your dog expects regular treats, switch from high-calorie choices to raw baby carrots or green beans.  Carrots are high in vitamins, and the crunchy texture is good for a dog’s teeth.  Green beans are low-calorie option and contain fiber.  Our dogs receive a treat when we are leaving them.  As soon as they see the treats come out, Maggie heads for her crate, and Gator runs to his bed by the living room window.
  6. If your dog is already overweight, consult your vet about a suitable diet.  Be consistent and don’t allow those soulful, pleading eyes to persuade you to slip him bites of people food or high-calorie treats.

Always talk to your veterinarian before changing your dog’s diet and follow his or her advice.  What works for one animal may not be the correct diet for all.

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