BrainTrainingforDog: How to Tell if Your Pet Needs to Lose Weight

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

How to Tell if Your Pet Needs to Lose Weight

 Obesity in pets is an epidemic that severely affects the quality of life of the pets we love. Part 1 deals with the risks of pet obesity, Part 2 covers how to determine whether your pet is overweight and Part 3 describes a weight loss strategy.

In part 1, I discussed the risks of obesity in pets. Unfortunately, arthritis, cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure are just some of the risks associated with your dog's obesity. In this part, we will see why obesity is a controversial issue (but should not be) and how you can determine whether your pet has a weight problem, and what to do next.

Obesity is the biggest threat to the health of pets, and the most important decision for the health of pets that parents take every day is what and how much they feed. This is one of the many reasons why I stand behind our Wild Earth dog food. We have formulated it to be a protein and fiber-rich food, ideal to maintain a healthy weight in your puppy. 

5 Tips to Lose Weight to Your Dog

When a veterinarian examines a patient, he assesses his body condition on a scale of 5. An ideal weight is rated 3. If your pet is at 4, he is overweight, and if at 5 he is overweight. suffers from obesity.

According to statistics, more than 50% of pets in North America are overweight. So there is a good chance that you need weight management tips from your companion. Unfortunately, there is no magic potion to lose weight to your pet. However, if you adhere to the following basic principles, you will succeed with the necessary resources and efforts. You will be greatly rewarded by the positive effects on the health of your pet.

Here are 5 principles to follow to lose weight for your dog.

1. Reduce calories

If your pet is fed ad libitum, here's a start of the solution: start by controlling the amount of food it eats. So, you need to start feeding it as a meal.

If you are already in control of how much food your pet eats, ask yourself, " Can I reduce my dog's portions without him being hungry?" "

The answer is, Yes? Make sure that his nutritional needs are met despite the reduction of portions. Many formulations on the shelves of grocery stores and pet stores are called "light", which means that they contain fewer calories than any other comparable (unidentified) diet. However, they are not necessarily suitable for diet. Only cutting parts of these diets could lead to a lack of certain nutrients.

If the answer is no, feed your dog food formulated for weight loss. Veterinary medicines designed for weight loss have not only reduced calories but also sufficient amounts of protein, vitamins, and fiber to help with weight loss by ensuring that your pet's nutritional needs are met.

Your veterinarian and his team are trained to help you choose the right diet for your pet based on his state of health (does your dog suffer from a disease that causes his excess weight? a medical condition that requires a specific diet?), your dog's preferences and your specifications (dryer vs stock, for example).

Eat table

All foods you add to your dog's diet should be taken into account.

How many cookies do you give him per day?

What about small pieces of bread for breakfast?

Is he entitled to a piece of cheese if you give him his medicine?

Ideally, your dog should not be given table food. In real life, however, I know very well that it is difficult to stop a habit that is deeply rooted in our daily lives, and that this does not happen overnight. Therefore, I ask you to make decisions and be reasonable. Cut the specified amounts of food in half (at least) and choose foods that have fewer calories: avoid bread, cheese, ice cream or anything that has sauce. Here is a list of toxic foods for your pets.

Food Rewards

You need to reduce up to 10% calorie intake outside the diet you have chosen. For example, use pieces of low-calorie cookies, dried liver, or carrots (carrots are sweet, so do not go overboard) and feed the pieces accordingly to avoid suffocation. Thus, you can continue to reward your companions based on their habits at different times of the day, but by controlling the calories consumed.

Can't resist his begging look or are you afraid that your pet will starve? Remember that if your pet's nutritional needs are met with his meals, if he still asks you for food, it is often the attention that he needs. So when he comes to beg, you can: use croquettes from his regular diet to reward him after he has obeyed him, offer hugs, or even better, go for a walk!

Several small meals instead of a large one

It is a good idea to slow down your dog's eating, on the one hand, to improve his digestion, but also to prevent him from swallowing his daily ration in 5 minutes and hungering the rest of the day. If you have the opportunity to offer several small meals a day: at least 2 meals, up to 10 if you can. The trick is to take the daily portion in the morning in a cup and distribute this amount at different times of the day. You will know that what remains in the cup for dinner is that this puppy has not yet eaten his daily ration. This helps to manage the situation when more than one person feeds the puppy and prevents the meals from being duplicated.

If you are away from home for 12 hours a day and cannot manage meals efficiently, or if your dog "sucks" his meal in 2 seconds, use a food bowl that slows down food intake. There are different models, some with complex shapes, small doors that the animal must open, or even a vending machine that calculates the portions.

2. Increased exercise

Exercise is the cornerstone of any diet. You can reduce the amount of food your pet feeds without losing weight at all because your metabolism adapts to the food it receives. In order to operate the metabolism and burn fat, dogs must move! It will also prevent muscle mass from melting together with fat mass.

Exercises to avoid and promote

Avoid long weekend hikes (because you are on holiday and finally have two hours to get your companion moving). It is ineffective and is the ideal situation to hurt your pet: muscle pain, stretching of the ligaments, burns of the pads, scratch injuries, progression of osteoarthritis, long walks just once a week can be harmful to your dog's health and should therefore be avoided.

It is best if your dog moderates exercise, but daily. If you do little or no training with your dog, start with a 5-minute walk in the morning, 5 minutes in the afternoon, and 5 minutes in the evening, then increase each workout by 2 minutes per week.

If an outdoor walk is not possible, hide some food in the house for him to look for with you, or let him swim in the hallway (or in the larger room of the house) in the middle of the house. 'tempting with food. For big dogs, place your bowl on a different floor than your favorite nap place.

How much time per day?

The time limit is your availability, but a total of 30 minutes per day is a minimum. Working dogs (eg Australian Shepherd, Beagle, Jack Russell Terrier, etc.) will be able to withstand much longer periods of exercise: they must adapt.

If you exercise it gradually, your pet should have no problem keeping up with the pace. If not, talk to your veterinarian as a medical reason may prevent this (joint pain, heart or breathing problems, dermatitis between the toes, etc.). It is important that your dog moves every day!

3. Integrate mental work

Do not underestimate the mental work to help you lose weight in your dog. Does he know his basic commandments? Yes, great! Use them. "Sit", ". Lay", "Come", "Stay" and "Look" are basic commands that your dog should know to obey. If this is not the case, it is never too late to get it right, especially since your pet will now certainly be very motivated by food and inclined to do their 4 will to get that famous biscuit or that delicious piece of carrot. !

Beyond the basic commands are the limits of your imagination: "turn", "do the beautiful", "give the paw", "be dead"... Or let him eat the cookie if desired on his nose, run it between his legs to make it sing ... Have fun! Believe it or not, your pet spends calories when it is obedient. He also loves it (all dogs love obedience sessions!), And it strengthens the connections between you and your pet. You will get nothing but positive!

4. Make a good follow-up

The success of a plan lies in its participation. To help you respect your good habits, it is best to set goals and use the resources that are available to you. To do this, ask your veterinarian if he offers a follow-up weight loss program. Many animal clinics offer this service, free of charge or for a small fee when using their therapeutic food. Assessing your dog's state of health, ideal weight, basic energy needs, and target weight loss rate are important components of a weight loss program that your veterinary team will tell you. will establish.

In light of this important information, you will be able to advise you on the exact amount of food to feed your pet. Experts advise weighing the daily feed ration for a more accurate result, especially for small dog breeds, for which meals are only a few croquettes away. The weighing in fixed intervals is then programmed and you will be helped to adjust the portions accordingly. This ensures that weight loss is not too fast. Weight loss should gradually avoid creating health problems.

The target weight loss rate is usually 1 to 2% per week (and 0.5 to 1% in cats). Conversely, if weight loss is insufficient, the strategy will be re-evaluated and quickly changed.

5. Maintain achievements

After all the efforts invested in weight loss for your dog, you should not stop getting the ideal weight ... You must keep it! Some animals must continue to be fed the diet to lose weight, or they will gain weight.

Others need to be redirected to a" weight control " diet to stop weight loss and prevent you from falling below your healthy weight.

In all situations, the right lifestyle habits acquired during the process of weight loss, such as physical and mental exercise, must be maintained. Not only will they help to improve your companion's quality of life, but they will also improve life expectancy by up to 30%, which can lead to several big additional years at your side. 

Efforts that are really worthwhile

In the end, it is never easy to change your habits. On the other hand, all of us who manage to get our dog to a healthy weight tell us how happy you are to find your former companion again, more dynamic and more comfortable to take a bite out of life (so to speak) !). Your efforts and perseverance will be rewarded a thousand times, I assure you.

Keep in mind that the majority of weight loss principles can be transferred to our friend's cats and that you can replace outdoor exercise with exercise at home (among other things, vertically, because cats like to climb into the air). Sometimes it takes a little more patience to teach a cat commands, but it would be a big mistake to underestimate their intelligence! Now it's your turn!

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