A study conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) indicates 53 percent of adult dogs are classified as overweight or obese by their veterinarian. According to Dr. Ernie Ward, APOP founder, “The most distressing finding in this year’s study was the fact that more pet owners are unaware their pet is overweight.”
Have you ever described your dog as solid, muscular or cute and pudgy? You’re not alone. Many people think their dog is just “big boned” or “a little husky,” but in reality their dog is overweight and unhealthy. There’s nothing cute about an overweight dog’s aching joints and taxed internal organs.
Some breeds only need to gain a few pounds to be considered obese in human terms. In other words, four extra pounds on a Pomeranian equates to 50 extra pounds on the average 5’4 female! Imagine going to the doctor and weighing an 50 extra pounds! Your doctor would immediately suggest a change in diet along with more physical activity. Make your portions smaller. Cut out the ice cream sundaes and french fries. Make sure you get your heart rate up a couple hours a week.
This chart shows how a few extra pounds on a dog translates to a comparable weight gain in a human.
* Based on AKC recommendations for healthy weight for each dog breed.
**Based on a healthy weight for a 5’4 Female of 130 pounds as noted by healthstatus.com.
+ Based on a healthy weight for a 5’9 Male of 150 pounds as noted by healthstatus.com.
Managing your best friend’s weight is important to her health! Are you feeding your dog according to the feeding guidelines on the bag? If your dog is not as active as an “average” dog, you may need to restrict the amount of food you are feeding. Are you giving your dog extra “goodies” like table scraps or wet food? Those are not free calories - you should adjust the amount of dry food you are feeding to account for those calories, as well.
One other area to look at is the number of treats you give your dog a day. Instead of giving your dog a treat every time he does a trick or does his business, mix in some verbal praise. Or split a treat in half, so you can give those treats over a longer period of time. Or use a smaller treat to begin with, like Bil-Jac Little Jac treats. Praise him with more time together and a game of fetch or a nice long walk. Most dogs get just as excited for a play session as they do for a treat.
If you really want to see your dog reach a healthy weight range, try a reduced fat dog food such as Bil-Jac Reduced Fat Formula. Bil-Jac Reduced Fat has 30% less fat than Bil-Jac Select Adult, and unlike other reduced fat foods, dogs love the real chicken taste.
Help your dogs stay healthy by helping them maintain a healthy weight throughout their lifetime.
Do you have thoughts or suggestions about ways to keep your dog healthy, while maintaining the right weight for their breed and size? Please let us know in the comments below!