Keeping your dog fit and trim is not always an easy task. It is hard to say no when they give us those big brown eyes asking for a treat. Unfortunately, dogs that are carrying even a few pounds more than they should be are at risk for several heart issues. The hips, back, and joints are stressed, including the ACL that can be deemed a bad knee by us dog owners. The extra weight works the heart and lungs more and puts them at a greater risk for diabetes. It will interfere with the working dog both in speed, stamina, and the possibility of injury.
How to tell if your dog is over weight?
1. Stand over your pet viewing the back. Look for a nice curved indentation in the area of the waist (just behind the rib cage). A pet with a "straight line" from head to tail, or even a bowed-out line along the back, could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
2. View your pet from the side. There should be a nice "tuck up" area behind the rib cage and before the hind legs. A pet with a "straight line" or a saggy area in the belly area could likely mean that your pet is overweight.
3. Gently run your fingers along your pet's rib cage. The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly, as opposed to large "sheets" of fat moving along the ribs.
4. Check the area above the base of the tail; overweight pets have extra padding and folds in this location.
Dog food high in grain can add to weight issues in dogs. Ironically, the same idea as the Atkins Diet for humans works well for our dogs, moderate to higher protein, lower fat, and no grain. We must also keep the Kcal or calories per cup down. You can add low sodium green beans to your dog’s food as added fiber and filler. This will fill them up with less calories. One food that does a great job with weight loss is made by Petcurean Pet Food, Now Senior Weight Loss. They are a Canadian company that uses only the best quality ingredients. It has a moderate protein of 24%, lower fat of 10%, and a higher fiber of 6 %. You will also want to modify the treat intake. Using pieces of carrots, or cucumber and green beans will help lower the calories and also add fiber and vitamins. If using treats from the store, make sure to use a grain free treat. Breaking them in half will also cut the calories in half!
We as pet owners are solely responsible for our dog’s weight. They do not have the ability to push away from the bowl. Helping them maintain proper weight will ensure a healthier, happier, and much longer life.