Is your dog packing on the pounds?
Hourglass figure is not a trend that only women should follow, your dog should too! That’s right, your dog should have a hourglass figure, and if you don’t see that on your dog, there is a high chance that he/she is overweight. If you think this apply to your dog, consider this: being overweight puts your dog at risk of many diseases, not least of them diabetes, cardiovascular disease and arthritis.
Am I telling you that those fatty skin rolls on the back of your dog’s neck are not just a nose rub area for you to love on? That is correct! Your dog is probably overweight or obese and could be suffering from serious health issues, but fear not, there are a few ways for you to determine your dog’s body condition and get back on the road of being healthy!
You can assess your dog yourself: stand above your dog and look down on him/her, you should be able to feel the ribs but not see them. If you can see them, then your dog is too skinny. If you can’t see the ribs nor feel it while placing your hands on the side of their chest, then your dog is overweight. Your dog should have a nice taper at the waist. If there is very little or none at all, your dog might be too heavy, he/she will be egg shaped rather than hourglass shape. If your dog have a pendulous abdomen, hip fat, and neck fat, you might have yourself an obese dog.
Another way to determine whether your dog is overweight or obese is by using a system known as the body condition score. This system can be easily found online (This one has been validated and used on scientific publications: http://research.unc.edu/files/2012/11/CCM3_032387.pdf ), where there are pictures of what your dog looks like and what his ideal body looks like.
Still not sure if your dog is overweight or obese? Give your vet a call! Your vet will be the most reliable source you can find. Ask your vet to evaluate your four-legged friend size at every check-up. Once your canine reaches maturity, ask for his/her optimal weight.
If your dog is overweight, cutting their food intake will be of great help on losing those extra pounds. We all know that ‘food is love’ and we all want to make our dogs happy, but it is wise to consider that, very often it is not just the food that is causing the weight problem, it is all the addition treats or snacks between meal, including ‘human food’. Educate yourself regarding the correct serving size food. Companies often place information on labels or include charts on their web sites. Consider also feeding your dog twice a day, free feeding is really not a smart choice, since dogs act like us, humans, eating when they are bored. And last but not least, resist the beg! Oh, dogs love to beg! And why? Because they know they will eventually get what they want, either because they look so cute while begging or because they are being annoying!
And of equally importance: exercise! Don’t leave it up to your dog, make sure he/she gets out on the leash. Exercise is as important for pets as it is for people. If you don’t have the time to walk your dog, hire a dog walker.
An outdoor walk will benefit the physical and mental health of your dog!