Useful info about dogs:

Weight Management . . .

During 50 years of owning and loving dogs, Carole Curtis has
unearthed some enlightening facts about obesity and weight management for dogs

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Obesity and weight management for dogs

Dog obesity prevention

According to the Association of Pet Obesity Prevention 43% of dogs in the US are either over weight or obese.

In fact obesity in dogs is the cause of some of the most common problems seen by veterinarians today, ranging from:

  • Arthritis
  • Diabetes.
  • Fatty liver disease (hepatic lipidosis).
  • High Blood Pressure.
  • Insulin resistance.
  • Joint stiffness.
  • Kidney problems.
  • Lower urinary tract issues.
  • Non-allergenic skin disorders.
  • Shortened life span.

For these reasons, if you are letting your pet become overweight with excessive treats, food and inactivity, you may well be killing your best friend with "kindness."

Thankfully, obesity is easily preventable. Start gradually with smaller portions of high quality food, together with a daily or twice daily high energy run or walk depending on the age of your dog and your own fitness levels.

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How to tell if your dog is overweight

  • Feel its ribs. You ought to be able to feel each individual rib with a slight layer of fat covering it. If you have to work at feeling for ribs or indeed can't feel them at all, it's high time to start a weight-loss plan.
  • Feel the area around the base of your pet's tail. A slight layer of fat over its bones is good. If its bones are hard to find, it's obvious your pet is overweight.
  • Other very important areas to feel for excess fat are the spine, shoulders and hips. Again, a slight layer of fat is ideal, ii there is excess padding, then your dog is overweight.
  • Another tell-tale sign is to check for a waist. Look at your dog from above; if it has a waistline tucked in just behind its rib cage, then it is in within what is considered a healthy weight range.

In the photo below and to your right our friends Mort and Matt have modeled this from above view. Mort, on the left, is in ideal condition and shows a nice slightly nipped in waist. Matt on the right, is overweight and shows no obvious waistline at all!

  • Finally, look at your dog side-on. Again there should be visible signs of a waist tucked in behind its rib cage.
  • If your pet's chest and midriff look like one and the same, without any visible sign of a waist, then he or she is definitely overweight - of course, this side view will vary from breed to breed, particularly with greyhounds and whippets; and similarly built dogs looking thin compared to others, because they naturally have rather deep chests and smaller waists.
  • If your family vet has ruled out any health conditions that may be causing your pet's extra weight gain, then a weight management programme is definitely in order.
  • As with humans, crash diets are not healthy for pets. Ideally aim for a gradual weight loss of no more than say one or two percent of your pet's body weight per week. For the best results do your best to make sure you weigh your dog at the same time and on the same day each week.

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Weight loss control involves

  • Controlling quantity of food by providing proper portions based on your pet's age, weight, size, and activity levels.
  • Consider transitioning to raw food and reducing and/or eliminating refined carbohydrates.
  • Eliminating "free feeding" and establishing a set feeding routine.
  • Regular daily exercise.

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How much to feed your dog

Every dog is different in its energy needs/intake of food and most pet Mums are pretty familiar with their pets' requirements, so it is just a matter of serving smaller portions and cutting out all the "extras". With diligence and patience the results can be quite spectacular.

I speak from personal experience. Recently, Poppie my Shih Tzu/Chihuahua cross, needed to lose some weight, and after six months of cutting out tidbits from the table, and squeezing in one extra walk around the block each day she lost half a kilo (1 lb), which was one sixth of her body weight. Now she has a waist again!!

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What to feed your dog

Weight loss programs for dogs are identical to those for humans - eat less and exercise more. High quality protein and nutritious food together with a regular exercise routine is the best way to help your dog lose his or her extra pounds.

Dogs are naturally carnivores and many overweight dogs slim down very well when transitioned to a raw food diet.

If raw food is not an option for you and you wish to feed your dog a diet of dry or canned foods, be selective in your choice of dog food labels.

Some boutique brands offer high quality protein, low carbohydrate alternatives which are fine, as opposed to many mass produced brands, which are bulked out with cheap refined carbohydrates and contain preservatives, chemicals, artificial flavourings and in many cases foreign ingredients - all of which your dog does not need or want.

Mother Nature did not intend or design dogs to eat refined carbohydrates and therefore by feeding them to your pets you are putting an unnecessary strain on their digestive systems, particularly on their pancreases which have to work overtime.

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Meal scheduling for your dog

It is a complete myth that dogs will regulate their own weight if food is left out for them to "graze". Leaving food out all the time (otherwise known as free feeding) is one of the main contributors to dog obesity and also to a number of other health issues.

Two meals a day is more than adequate for adult companion pets, especially dogs on weight management programmes Puppies should be fed at least three times a day during their greatest growth period in the first 4 to 6 months.

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Treats

It is difficult for most pet owners to cut out treats entirely – especially those owners who have been well trained by their four-legged friends. In the beginning you may well have thought it was cute the first time Rover ran to the treat cupboard and looked at you with hopeful eyes, and now he needs to lose weight it can be a very hard habit to break.

Since treats provide pleasure for both you and your pet, the easiest way around this is to simply reduce the size of the treat and restrict them to mostly meat treats, such as the freeze-dried or dehydrated meat treats. If Fido is really over weight you may need to consider reducing the amount you feed him at each meal to compensate for the amount of treats you have fed him that day.

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Exercising your dog

Exercise provides far more than just an increase in calorie usage. It contributes to the quality of your relationship with dog as well as improving its mental health, its cardiovascular and immune systems, and increases its longevity.

Depending on the size and breed of your dog, exercise can be simple as a 15 or 20 minute walk twice a day or for larger breeds a visit to a local off-leash dog park where they can run free and play with other dogs.

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The reward - a happier, healthier dog

Once you have helped your pet reach a healthier weight, you can slightly increase its food portions to maintain that weight. Continue to watch your best friend diligently, and keep up your routine of:

  • Feeling for ribs.
  • Looking for a waist.
  • Weighing once a week, on the same day at the same time.
  • Maintaining your exercise routine.

Weight control is well worth the time and effort for the long-term health of your precious pet.

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This article and information forms part of the Carole's Doggie World Library and is presented for informational purposes only and not intended as an endorsement of any product. The information is not intended to be a substitute for visits to your local veterinarian. Instead, the content offers the reader information researched and written by Carole Curtis for www.carolesdoggieworld.com

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Halo Herbal Dip
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Sentry Natural Defense
Flea & Tick
Dog Spray - 8 oz

 

 

 

 


Only Natural Pet
Flea/Tick Dog Collar

 

 

 

 

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Your dogs suffer in silence because they cant tell you about . . .
their painful teeth    |     their flea problems    |     or their allergies

Follow these links and soak up the free information to gain a happier, healthier dog who thinks you are the best person on the planet!

Copyright © 2015 Carole Curtis

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