Obesity is a serious problem for dogs, just as it is in humans. Previously, we have looked at the causes of obesity, which are important to understand if you want to keep your dog healthy. Today, we'll be providing some practical tips on preventing obesity, as well as what to do if you discover your faithful friend is overweight.
There are plenty of ways to help prevent your dog from putting on excessive amounts of weight. One of the best is, of course, making sure he gets plenty of exercise, which means lovely long walks and lots of fun games in the park - something both you and your pooch will really enjoy.
Equally important is paying attention to your dog's diet. As well as ensuring you are feeding your pet good-quality, healthy food, you also need to check you are giving him the right amount of it. So, always check the packet of any food you give him, and also get familiar with the dietary needs of your dog's breed.
If you like to feed your dog treats (we all love to pamper our pets!), it's a good idea to make sure these come out of his normal food allowance so that he doesn't end up eating too much over the course of the day. Any treats you do give should also provide a healthy balance of nutrition.
If you're concerned that your dog may be too heavy, the first step is to visit your vet and check. This way, you can also talk through the underlying cause of his obesity and work out the best way to proceed with weight loss. Both these points are important, because while carrying too much weight can simply be a question of too much food and too little exercise, it can also be indicative of underlying illnesses. You can also get advice from your vet about how best to get your dog back to a healthy weight - something that can vary dependent on its causes.
Generally speaking, you will need to slowly change your dog's feeding habits (fast changes can cause upset stomachs - try to mix any new food in with his usual food gradually over a seven-day period), in addition to increasing exercise. Your vet should be able to advise you on a feeding plan and the types of food that will help nourish your dog while losing weight, which are typically high-protein, high-fibre meals. High in protein, the BARF Diet replicates the natural eating habits of your dog.
Written by: Hannah Dyball