Unfortunately, pet obesity is a big problem. We are surrounded by processed foods and many people who feel guilty thinking their dog is always “starving”. I hear it all the time: “Well, he’s always by me when I’m cooking,” or “he loved it so much, I gave him more,” or “he begs constantly so he must be starving”. What can you do if your pet is obese? The first part of the process is recognizing that your pet is obese. If you look at your dog or cat, can you see their back ribs? If your dog is having a hard time getting up and down or just moving around in general due to its weight, this is definitely a cause for concern. All that weight impacts their joints and does so much more damage to their health than you can physically see. I know many people think it’s “cute” when a pet is husky or chunky or chubby, but that “cute” comes with a high price – literally.
Do you free feed? If so, that is one of the number one contributors to pet obesity. Filling your pet's bowl every time it’s empty is not something we recommend. Giving your pet a schedule with his food will not only make them more excited to eat, but it creates more value as well. This will also help deter them from over-eating.
Now that you’ve recognized and understood that your dog is obese or needs to drop some weight, here are some steps you can take to make it happen:
1) Evaluate your pet’s diet. Are you feeding a lot of carbs? Sugar? Preservatives? Dogs are carnivores. Wheat, soy, corn, and bags full of preservatives are not what they are designed to eat. Take a look at your pet food, if it doesn’t have meat as its first few ingredients, then changing the diet is the first thing to do!
There are so many diets on the market for dogs who need to lose weight, but it can be so simple to choose. A raw diet is the healthiest and fastest way to help your dog lose weight. Raw has no sugar, corn, or carbs. It has everything your dog needs to thrive. If raw is not an option, then that’s ok! There are still many options for your pup from kibble to freeze-dried. We are here to help you figure this out! All our diets are designed for your pet’s optimal health. If you don’t overfeed, our diet options don’t carry the bad ingredients that can harm your pet’s health and eventually lead to an obese pet.
2) Review the treats you are giving your pet. Treats are the same as food. The treats and chews you feed should be limited in ingredients as well. If your pet is overweight, it’s important to decrease treats throughout the week.
3) Get moving! Take your pet for more walks or any kind of activity to get him going. It’s important for your pet to always be active in some way, not only for their physical health but also their mental health.
4) Don’t fall for the begging. Your pet isn’t starving when they beg for your food. They just want your food. Even when their little tummies are full. It’s important not to give in, even when their cute little beady eyes are starring you down. Remember, keeping your pet thin and in shape is much healthier for them in the long run. Have healthy treats you can give in small amounts if you need to give your pet something.
In the end, a diet change is of utmost importance if your pet is overweight. An obese pet will lead to more health complications down the road. Pets don’t understand that being overweight can harm them. We are responsible for their health. If you have an overweight pet, let’s look at their current diet and make some improvements to give your pet a longer, healthier life!