Association for Pet Obesity Prevention estimates more than 56% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese [1], that’s nearly 50 million! While our dog’s extra pounds may not bother us, their overall health may be effected and cause medical problems.

Health risk for overweight dogs can face arthritis, high blood pressure, diabetes, heart and respiratory disease, kidney disease, or worse… cancer. They may also have a decreased life expectancy by nearly 2.5 years.

As we all know, the time we have with our furry family members is already far too short, so we want to make sure we’re doing everything we can to keep them healthy and around for as long as we can.

Here are 3 tips to help keep those pounds off your pet:

  • Watch Those Calories – Calories in your dog’s food, treats and chews add up. Limit the table scraps and excessive treats to cut back on those extra calories. You can also speak to your veterinarian to help determine how many calories your dog should be consuming per day to lose weight. Caloric intake will vary based on the dog’s breed, age and activity level.
  • Daily Exercise – Most dogs are left home while we work on overage 6-8 hours a day. The general recommendation for physical dog activity is 30 minutes. Taking your dog on a walk when you get home can help boost their metabolism. Other activities can include swimming, agility class, or simply playing ball. Daily exercise helps strengthen respiratory and circulatory system, keeps muscles toned and joints flexible, aids in digestion and keeps their mind active.
  • Keep Treats Healthy – Most of us love cookies, just as much as our dogs love treats. However, most treats and cookies contain a lot of carbohydrates which make those calories add up quickly. When we get those big puppy eyes gazing up at us and can’t resist, try to keep those treats health. There are lots of health choices to choose from: green beans, blueberries, pieces of apple, slices of banana, frozen pumpkin, baby carrots, or florets of broccoli. Keep it healthy!

 

[1] Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, https://petobesityprevention.org (accessed Sept. 20, 2018)