If your dog is overweight, you’re not alone, nearly 50% of dogs are categorized as overweight. Some breeds; such as Dachshunds, Beagles, and Labs, are prone to obesity which might make keeping them on track more challenging. It’s important to be proactive with weight loss because there are a great many health risks to dogs who are overweight or obese. Some of the most common ailments in overweight dogs are high blood pressure, joint problems or arthritis, breathing problems, and even diabetes. It’s always important to consult with your veterinarian before starting a weight loss regimen, but here are some tips to help you along the way.

Find out idyllic body weight for your dog by asking your veterinarian. Most dogs, like people, have ideal weight ranges and if your dog falls off the high side of normal weight, they’re overweight. You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs easily by lightly pressing on their rib cage. If, instead, you feel a thick layer of fat, they’re likely overweight. Your dog’s abdomen should always be narrower than their chest. If your dog has no waist, they’re probably overweight.

What has your pet been eating? Those extra treats and table scraps can really add up. Especially for inactive dogs, the pounds can pack on very quickly. Stick to the manufacturers recommended portions of food by ideal weight. If you dog isn’t losing weight you will want to consult with your veterinarian. Your veterinarian will advise you if special weight control food in necessary, or if a simple adjustment to their current food with do the trick. Another key is to eliminate people food and limit treats. This is probably the most difficult part of putting your dog on a diet but you have to resist those eyes for their own good.

Spend more time playing and exercising with your pet. If you don’t already go on daily walks, start now. Helping your dog be more active will help boost their metabolism, give them more energy, strengthen their heart and bones, cure boredom, and help stave off weight gain. If your dog has joint problems, swimming is a great alternative.

Weighing your pet periodically will help you track their progress. Always use the same scale at regular intervals (be it weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly). If you’ve adjusted your dog’s diet and daily routines but have found no change in results, contact your veterinarian. It’s possible your dog may have an underlying medical condition and your vet may want to preform bloodwork or other testing.

Helping your dog lose weight should be a responsibility shared by the whole family. Everyone in your household needs to participate in your dog’s health goals. Resist handouts and extra treats as this will backtrack any progress your dog has made. By sticking to a diet and incorporating increased activity, your dog will be on their way to optimal weight.

You’ll want to take a gradual approach to weight loss for your dog and this can take quite a few months. The goal should be 1 to 2 percent weight reduction per week. Once your dog’s goal is met, adjust to maintenance level feeding. Your veterinarian will be able to guide you in finding the appropriate amount to feed your dog to maintain their weight. My Pet Pail can help provide you with the tools for weight loss or weight maintenance while you travel. My Pet Pail comes equipped with two removable and spill-proof bowls, allowing you to fill up before you leave home. The upper section offers additional storage with two removable 20-ounce bottles for food or water.

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