THE CANINE OBESITY EPIDEMIC:If your dog is 15 percent or more above his ideal weight, he is obese. Being just 10% percent overweight decreases a dog’s life span by one-third and predisposes him to heart, liver and kidney disease as well as to arthritis, diabetes, and cancer. Currently over half of dogs and cats in America are overweight. Hormones and genetics, as well as individual variations in metabolism and appetite, are predisposing factors. However, the most common cause of obesity is well-meaning owners who indulge their dogs with treats, table scraps, and over-sized portions.
What You Can Do:
- Feed your dog at least 2 meals a day
- Leave food out for 10 minutes only
- Make sure you can easily feel but not see your dog’s ribs, and they have a visibly tucked up waist
- Provide regular exercise 20 minutes twice a day
- Allow free access to clean, fresh water at all times
- Important: Before putting your dog on a diet check with your vet
How to Put Your Dog on a DIET: DOG DIETS
- You are what you eat and so is your dog! Good nutrition is the foundation of good health. The major cause of obesity is overeating. High protein, high fiber, low-fat foods keep dogs happy while they lose weight. Increasing the fiber provides bulk. Bulk fills up your dog’s stomach so he feels full and is satisfied. This usually prevents begging and getting into the trash. All dogs should eat at least twice a day. When dieting, increase the number of your dog’s meals from 1 to 2 up to 6 per day. Divide your dog’s total daily ration into 6 portions – (don’t feed him 6 times more) then ideally try to feed him every 4 hours. Eating more often stimulates his metabolism, which uses up more energy and burns more calories. Leave his food out for 10 minutes, and then remove it.
- Homemade natural diets take more time but can be well worth the extra effort. The key is to find a balanced recipe that tastes good and keeps your dog healthy. Several prescription-reducing diets are available commercially that your vet can recommend.
How Much Do You Feed Your Dog?
- A GENERAL GUIDE is ½ cup per 20 pounds, 1 cup per 40 pounds 11/2 CUPS per 60 pounds. twice daily. If your dog quickly finishes his meal in ~3 minutes, then looks up at you with big sad eyes, he is still hungry. Try adding 1/3 of the original portion to his meal and see if that does the trick.
Dr. Carol’s Canine Feeding Tip:
- Adding fresh vegetables to your dog’s diet will increase the fiber portion of his meal. This lets you increase the amount of food, without increasing the total number of calories. Your dog will feel full, be happy and lose weight, all at the same time.
Tip To Weigh Your Dog:
- First, weigh yourself, and then pick up your dog (if you can) and weigh both of you. Subtract the two; the difference is your dog’s weight. Always use the same scale.