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Are you aware that an estimated 59% of dogs in the United States are overweight? Obesity is the most common nutritional problem in pets, and obesity can create further health problems for your dog. Luckily, this is an issue that can be remedied through a treatment routine that includes diet, exercise, and medical oversight.
Treating your pet’s obesity as a health condition is a serious matter. Being overweight or obese has been associated with increased risk of serious diseases in dogs such as arthritis, heart disease, respiratory conditions, diabetes, cancer, and joint and back problems. Overweight pets are also an increased surgical and anesthetic risk.
It’s important to have your dog checked out by your veterinarian to determine the reason for weight gain. The possible reason could be as simple as overeating and lack of exercise, but there may be underlying endocrine issues that could cause your dog to become overweight. Your veterinarian will help you find the best course of action to help your pet.
The ideal diet for weight loss involves cutting calories without eliminating essential nutrients. Several reduced calorie diets are available that insure an adequate supply of necessary nutrients in a lower calorie package. These foods are usually higher in fiber content. Increasing the fiber content allows the pet to feel full, while the decrease in calories ensures the pet loses weight.
Hill’s Metabolic Advanced Weight Solution has been shown to reduce body fat by 28% among pets. This therapeutic food is formulated with L-carnitine, which helps dogs burn excess body fat and spare lean muscle mass, without depriving them of needed caloric intake.
Treats should be limited when a pet is obese. Most treats are packed with calories and salt, and are designed to keep pets wanting more. But there are low-calorie treats on the market. Lean Treats are always a popular option, as well as Dr. Muller Slim Snacks.
Increased activity is an important component to any weight loss program. Please remember that your pet may be out of shape and an exercise program should be increased slowly. You can’t run a marathon on your first day jogging. Check with your veterinarian for an appropriate exercise program tailored for your pet. When implementing an exercise program, avoid periods of high temperature and humidity. An out of shape dog will be more sensitive to stress from the heat and sun.
If your pet has mobility issues due to weight or lack of exercise, consider supplementing with joint supporting chews, which help your dog become more flexible with less pain.