Excess body fat is not just a problem for people, but for dogs too. In India, four out of every ten dogs suffer from obesity. The ratio is seen more often in metro cities due to the lack of exercise from pets staying indoors for long hours. Exercising less than required and overfeeding contributes to an unhealthy lifestyle resulting in a tendency for weight gain and obesity across all age groups. There are health issues associated with obesity which include diabetes, heart disease, joint-related disorders, high blood pressure and respiratory problems. The health consequences of these extra pounds must not be ignored, and a few simple adjustments to your pet’s lifestyle can help him shed the extra weight.
Measure. Your pet might act hungry and demand treats throughout the day. The excess calories in treats will add to that extra body fat and cause obesity. Make sure you measure your canine's food with a measuring cup, following a diet plan prescribed by your vet, and avoid excessive treats.
Choose. Food choices should be made according to your pet's age, weight and amount of movement in a typical day. For example, puppies need extra calories compared to older canines. Pregnant or nursing dogs, or pets with an active lifestyle, require more minerals, protein and calories in their diet. So, choose the right food based on your pet's requirements to keep him happy and healthy.
Water. One of the basic needs of all living beings is water. Ensure that your pet is drinking enough water to suit his overall nutrition needs. For example, if your dog is a large breed, he would need more hydration as his body requires more water than that of a small breed. Always keep your dog's bowl filled with clean water, as hydration is important for blood circulation, digestion and eliminating toxins.
Exercise. Exercise is as beneficial for canines as it is for people. Involve your pet in simple exercises like walking. Allow your puppy to walk rather than carrying him, and increase his physical activity by playing games like hide and seek and fetch. On the days your pet has indulged in a little more of his favorite treat, ensure he adds a few extra minutes to his play time and daily walks to burn those extra calories.
Consult. Use a weighing scale to check your pet's weight regularly. If there is a progressive increase, consult your vet to see if your dog just needs more exercise or if there is an underlying issue that should be addressed.
Healthy habits start young, so begin these practices when your pet first comes home! A healthy dog is a happy companion!