More than half the dogs and cats in this country are overweight, according to veterinary surveys. Just as with humans, this puts the animals at increased risk for a number of health problems, things such as heart and kidney disease, diabetes and arthritis.
Helping your pet to lose weight is not that difficult. Here are a few tips.
- Control calories.
First of all, you need to find out how many calories your dog needs each day, if you don’t know already. But you shouldn’t trust what you read on the food bag, according to veterinarians. The amounts listed are for active, adult animals that have not been neutered. So if your pet is older and has been neutered, and isn’t nearly as active, the amount on the bag may be a good deal more than he or she should be getting.
The best thing to do is ask your veterinarian to calculate the appropriate number of daily calories for your dog.
If, however, you want to do it yourself, you can use the following formula: Divide the weight of your pet by 2.2, multiply the result by 30, and then add 70. This will give you a more accurate number of calories for an indoor, inactive, neutered animal.
- Measure the meals.
Too many pet owners simply eyeball the amount of food they give to their pet, content if the amount is somewhere in the ballpark to what they should be giving. But even a little extra food each day can really add pounds on to the animal, especially a smaller one. For this reason, you need to measure the exact amount that you need to give to your pet.
- Give healthy treats.
Watch the extra treats you give your pets. Often these treats are simply junk food, full of sugars and fats. Give your pet treats that are low in calories and in sugar, such as salmon, sweet potato or blueberry bites. And make sure to include the calories in the treats as part of the dog’s overall number for the day.
Instead of processed treats, give your dog vegetables such as baby carrots, green beans, celery, broccoli, cucumbers, sliced apples, and bananas. They are nutritious and don’t have all the calories of the processed foods.
- Don’t forget exercise.
Exercise is essential for the health of your animal. Make sure to walk your dog for at least 20 to 30 minutes a day. This will improve their immune and cardiovascular systems, even improve behavioral problems. It will help to give your dog a longer life, and one that is free from pain and illness.
Speaking of exercise, why not let your dog “run wild” with other dogs at our 4,000-square-foot dog run for a day or two here at Barney’s Ranch? You can board your dog during the day, or give him two- or three-day vacation! Call us at (469) 273-1661 for more information.