Dogs can get fat -- really fat.
This should come as no surprise, as more American adults and children suffer from obesity today than ever before, and that’s rubbing off on the pets as their two-legged companions dole out one too many treats. Though often hilarious, the consequences are dire. Overweight canines are at greater risk of health conditions, from osteoarthritis to diabetes to cardiovascular disease, just like people.
If your four-legged friend is looking a bit thick around the edges, you need to get them back in shape. That means a nutritious diet and plenty of exercise. Here are some suggestions to get started in the right direction.
Fix Their Diet
The first step is reading the labels of whatever chow you buy, and looking up the first five ingredients online to see if they’re healthy or not. However, don’t rely too much on shelf-stable products, as they contain a lot of preservatives. Instead, switch to organic options that boost energy and give your dog a shiny coat. Taste of the Wild Grain-Free Natural Dog Food and Natural Ultramix Grain-Free Dog Food have won over many pups, along with their owners.
Deal Out Low-Cal Treats
You can still show your pup some love and reward good behavior; just keep the calorie count and fat content at a minimum. It’s relatively cheap if you’re willing to spend a little time in the kitchen. An expert at the Nest recommends whipping up some trail mix or dog biscuits with organic flour and just a few bacon bits for flavor.
Make a Workout Plan
This may be a long-term effort, so it’s best to build time into your schedule to stay consistent, no matter how busy you are. After your pup gets used to their daily exercise, they’ll be sure to remind you when it’s time to head outside for some fun in the sun. In fact, it’s likely to strengthen that bond you’re working so hard to cultivate.
As for what to do during your daily doggy exercise routine, there’s no real reason not to stick with the classics, and this is one of them. Not all pups are naturals at chasing down a stick and bringing it back to you, but there are ways to teach them. The key is motivation, according to Cesar’s Way, and you’ll get that from those healthy treats or a bit of extra affection.
Just bring them along with you on your morning or evening trot, though you may have to slow down the pace a little if they’re out of shape. The whole experience will be more rewarding with the right leash, which should be comfortable for the pup and easy to handle for you.
If you live near the sea, a lake or a river, then you’re in luck, especially if your pup is a water-loving variety, like a labrador retriever or a poodle. You won’t even have to tell them to dive in, as they’ll be way ahead of you, burning off that extra layer of fat as they paddle around to their heart’s content.
Hit the Dog Park
They’ll get the exercise they need on their own if it’s an off-leash facility; just make sure they’re ready, as there may be a lot of social pressure from other dogs. See how they behave while still leashed, and whether or not they bark or lunge at other woofers when they approach. That’s one sign that they need to get used to the local terrain before being let loose.
Walk It Off
Yes, this counts as exercise, even if it’s just a leisurely stroll down the block so your pup can take an evening potty break. However, your efforts will be much more effective by setting a brisk pace that elevates their heart rate and burns some calories; a 30-minute session should be just about right for dogs on the chunky side. You’ll be able to walk longer as they get thinner.
Don’t forget that these activities will keep you in shape, too. You’re killing two birds with one stone, and whole lot of calories as well.
Contributed this article for Peeva. Check out her blog ourbestfriends.pet