So you`ve come to the realisation that your dog is overweight. What should you do?
Obesity – What To Think About
Obesity is as common in pets nowadays as it is in humans. Like humans it can have very serious health effects. If you think your pet is overweight then it is important to intervene as soon as possible. Your pet needs to be weighed and have a body condition score calculated. These two parameters will help a vet or nurse to tell you the pets ideal weight so that we know what to aim for. Both these things can be done in the practice.
Your Dog`s Diet
We may recommend a special weight loss diet to enable smooth and reliable weight loss. The diet we recommend is Hills Metabolic Diet. If used as the sole diet it is very effective. When a dog is put on this diet the ideal weight, weight loss trajectory and feeding guidelines are calculated. All of these help to ensure stable and gradual weight loss that will be able to be maintained long term. If your dog is on another diet, especially a prescription diet for an underlying issue then we may not be able to switch to a weight loss diet. In that case the vet or nurse will be able to tell you what to feed of the prescription diet to help achieve weight loss.
Manage Your Dog`s Habits
Another important step is to try and write down all the different food your pet is getting in a day. This includes their usual dog food as well as treats and tidbits. When you write it all down, then it becomes clear if your pet is getting a lot of extra calories they do not need. A small scrap from the table can be a large amount of calories for a small dog. It is important to try and cut out treats and tidbits. If treats are needed for training then try giving them some of their dog food as a treat. Take this out of their daily allowance.
Some dogs are very treat orientated and it can be very hard to go cold turkey on the treats! If your dog would eat vegetables then something like cucumber or carrot could be an option to keep them motivated but with lower calories.
Exercise – Very Easy to Overlook!
Exercise is also very important for weight loss but the extra weight can put pressure on their joints. Sudden exertion in an overweight dog, not used to exercise, could cause injury. We want to gradually increase exercise. Walking, swimming and playtime can all be part of this. If your dog is used to running then this can be part of it too.
If you are concerned about your pets weight then the first step is to give the clinic a call. We can arrange a weight consultation and discuss our options to try and get your dog back in shape!