Spring is in full swing and its a great time to get out and walk and engage in other outdoor activities. It is also a good time to bring awareness to an issue that is prevalent in humans and pets alike - the importance of maintaining a healthy weight.
Today we are fortunate to have Lucy Tate of doggonow.com, an outstanding website dedicated to providing helpful information for all animal lovers particularly regarding the subjects of animal rescue and need for foster families. Lucy has been kind enough to write an article exclusively for us here at loyalpitbulllove.com. The following article contains a comprehensive guide for keeping your pets at a healthy weight and, you will find many of the tips in the article useful for humans as well.
So, here you go......enjoy!!
Canine Obesity in America
Americans love our food and we love our dogs. It’s no surprise that those two loves also get along-- but what’s the cost? The obesity epidemic plaguing the United States is now coming for our pets. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, roughly 53 percent of dogs are overweight or obese. When pets have an excess of body fat, it puts them at risk for various health issues:
- Joint problems
- Heart disease
- Increased blood pressure
- Respiratory issues
- Heat intolerance
- Liver failure
- Digestive disorders
- Decreased immune function
- Skin and coat issues
- Cancer and tumors
- Premature death
Being proactive regarding your pup’s weight control can help keep him healthy and happy. Talk to your vet about the ideal weight for his breed or at the very least a breed similar in size. If he or she is already in a healthy range, your work is mostly upkeep and providing an active lifestyle for your dog. If your pup is already overweight, your vet should be able to give you recommendations on low calorie food options and how to safely incorporate exercise into your dog’s schedule.
There are a lot of opinions when it comes to what dogs should eat. Some people really adhere to the whole raw food concept. Others prefer the simplicity and convenience of kibble. Whatever fits into your budget and schedule is what is right for you.
Some general things to keep in mind regarding your dog’s diet:
- Always have clean water available. Your dog should drink about an ounce of water per pound of body weight every day.
- Avoid free-feeding. Your average dog loves food so much he can’t control himself and stop overeating. Provide your pup with a regular feeding schedule with appropriate portion sizes to keep weight under control.
- Know what foods your dog can eat and what to avoid. Always pay attention to his reactions and behaviors after trying a new food. If he seems sick or shows signs of an upset stomach, eliminate that food from his diet. Dogs tend to do best with a consistent and safe diet without too much variation, anyways.
No matter how much of a couch potato your dog is, he needs regular exercise for both his physical and mental wellbeing. You can’t just let your pup in the backyard and expect that to be enough, either. A dog can spend a surprising amount of time just sniffing around-- sometimes when it comes to real physical activity, you have to take the lead.
Walking daily is the most obvious solution to your dog’s exercise dilemma. Walking your dog allows him to follow his instincts and explore the various sights, sounds, and-- most importantly-- smells around the neighborhood. Make it a priority to break out the leash, check here for some good ones, at least once a day to go for a leisurely stroll.
Another great way to encourage exercise is by taking a trip to the dog park. Dog parks provide ample space where your pup can run off leash and play with other canines. When visiting a dog park, stay alert at all times, and keep these safety tips in mind. As a dog owner, it is your responsibility to pick up after his business when in public. It is also important to watch for signs of aggressiveness both from other dogs and your own. Look for signs of sickness and keep your dog away from possibly infections pups to keep him healthy.
American dogs are facing the same struggles with obesity as American humans. If your pup is overweight or obeses, it puts him at risk for various health problems including diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Talk with your vet about an appropriate weight range for your dog and the best diet for his needs. Be sure to provide plenty of fresh water and exercise to promote health and happiness in your dog’s life.
Thank you Lucy for creating this for us.
Hope everyone reading this enjoyed the article as much as we did and also found some useful tips to incorporate into your daily routine with your dogs.
Be sure to check out doggonow.com too!