Temptations: When we talk about ‘more food’, it means feeding the dog more than the recommended amount of food. Dogs by nature love to eat, it is difficult to resist those soulful looks begging for food. Once they develop a liking for what you eat, dogs can refuse to eat their regular pet food. Could that be a problem? Well, start linking your twos and twos together for you are in for a royal surprise!
Sedentary lifestyle: Sedentary lifestyle leads to more weight gain. It becomes a vicious cycle. Basically, when a pet parent is physically active, he will spend time playing with the dog. This playtime is extremely important for a dog, as it gives him the much needed exercise, which helps burn calories and keeps weight gain in check. However, if all the dog does is eat and sleep, the both the pet parent and dog will suffer from a weighty problem! Both end up being couch potatoes, battling obesity.
Total food intake: Finally, there is the question of feeding the right amount of food. Love is also expressed via food, pet parents assume that their dogs need to be fed large amounts. As a result, contribute to their weight gain.
Obesity occurs when the energy intake (calories) is higher than the amount of energy the dog expends. This happens when the dog consumes more. And, unfortunately, a dog is an opportunist. He will eat if food is there, whenever and wherever! So, it is the pet parent’s responsibility to ensure that the dog’s calorie intake is regulated, so that the calories cannot be metabolised into fat and stored in the body. Also, to burn the calories consumed, the dog needs to use energy. This happens when the dog is physically active. If the dog does not burn the calories, it will settle in his body, resulting in layers and layers of unsolicited fat.
Check if your dog is obese…
Your pooch is obese if:
- You cannot see and feel the outline of his ribs without excess fat covering.
- When viewed from above, you cannot see and feel your pet’s waist.
- When viewed from side, his belly is not tucked up, but hanging loose.
An obese dog means unhealthy dog…
Besides suffering from excessive weight and lethargy, being overweight can result in many health problems, which can reduce the quality of life of your faithful companion. Some of the health problems include:
- Breathing problems while exercising or playing
- Heat intolerance
- Spinal problems
- Lowered resistance to diseases, especially viral infections
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Dental problems
- Joint problems
- Skin problems
- Heart diseases
Basically, when a dog is obese, it prevents him from leading a healthy, happy and playful life, both indoors and outdoors.
Together, let’s shed the weight…
Exercise and play: Pet parents should get up from their couches and start moving! They should have a scheduled playtime for their companions and take them out for a brisk walk, play a little catch or allow them to run around.
Studies show that people, who exercise with their dogs, have more fun during the exercise routine. This helps to take the monotony out of working out alone and also works wonders for the dog. Just a simple walk with the dog can be an exhilarating experience for both the dog and his pet parent. The time that pet parents spend exercising with their dogs allow them to spend quality time with each other while strengthening their bonds.
Eating & feeding right: The pet parent should control his portions while eating meals. It is best to opt for fibre-rich food that fills the stomach and makes the person feel satiated rather than consuming junk food and processed food. When the person controls his portions, he will not overeat. A human needs 2,000 calories a day to function optimally. So, the person can divide his food into 5 to 6 small meals that give him his daily calorie requirement. He should concentrate on eating whole grains, fresh veggies, fresh fruits, cereals, lean meats, poultry and fish.
Similarly, even the dog’s food intake should be regulated. No amount of sad eyes should buckle the pet parent into feeding table scraps to the dog. Furthermore, pet parents should feed just the recommended amount of dog food to their pets. The amount is best decided after speaking to a vet. Even if the dog refuses to eat and begs for your food, don’t give in. You have to be strong and not give in to those soulful looks begging for more! Consult your doctor/vet: Do check with your doctor/vet to rule out the possibility of any disease leading to weight gain.
Be a responsible pet parent: Be responsible for yourself and your pet, stick to your exercise routine on a daily basis. Have fun together!
It is the ultimate buddy system that can help both the dog and the pet parent win the battle of the bulge! So, get, set and go…!