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Dealing With An Overweight Dog

 Submitted by Michael Adams on November 30, 2009

Dealing With An Overweight Dog Being fit and in shape cannot be a resolution you take alone, it applies as much to your dog too. Quite often, not a lot of thought is paid to the dog's weight. Many people are never clear on how much is too much or too little when it comes to feeding their dog.

But it needs to be noted that obesity is an all too common problem among pet dogs. Symptoms of Obese Dog: The first hurdle is to recognize the fact that your four legged companion is overweight. There are certain areas you can check to determine this fact.

Feel your dog's ribs. If your dog's weight is normal there should be a small layer of fat over it, but you should still be able to feel the rib under it. If your dog is overweight, you won't be able to see or feel the ribs at all Check other bony areas of the body as also the base of the tail. The tail in a normal weight dog should be smooth to touch but with a hint of bone under it. If you can't feel the bone at all, it is a sign of excess weight. The same thing applies to the shoulders, spine, and hips. Closely observe your dog from above and see if there is a waist following the ribs. If there is no waist dip it means you dog has too much fat. Now, look at your dog from the side, because dogs and for that matter cats too, have a prominent abdominal tuck. This basically means that the area behind the dog's ribs should ideally be smaller than the chest, diameter-wise. Of course, the degree of abdominal tuck differs from breed to breed. If your dog is overweight, you won't be able to see an abdominal tuck at all. Basically, spotting excess weight in a dog is no different in spotting the additional fat on our bodies; we just need to be observant that's all. If you do determine that your dog is overweight, consult the veterinarian and get a thorough check up of your dog so as to eliminate medical issues. If it's just a case of excess weight, you can, in consultation with the vet, chalk out a weight reduction plan. Treating Dog Obesity: Generally, it is always advisable to adopt preventive measures early on instead of trying to work out a solution after the problem has occurred. In your dog's case, it's necessary to maintain a feeding schedule. The quantity of food given should depend upon your dog's age and activity level. Suffice to say, just as with humans, younger dogs need more calories as compared to older ones whose metabolisms are slowing down. However, if you do have an overweight dog here are some things you can do. Exercise: Much like us, when you're trying to shed excess weight off your dog, you need to get it to exercise. In your dog's case this means you spend quality time outdoors. Make your dog walks or runs while out, whether to play fetch or simply to run alongside you. Exercising goes a long way in ensuring fitness for your dog as it helps in digestion, keeps your dog's muscles flexible, aids the respiratory as well as circulatory systems. Food: It's essential to choose the right kind of food for your dog and even more importantly, the right quantity. It is believed that younger dogs or puppies need more protein than older ones, as also do dogs that spend plenty of time outdoors and pregnant dogs. Older ones need lesser calories. So, one way to deal with this to feed your dog in meals, much like your eating schedule. Don't let food be available at all times. This way you can monitor how much you're feeding it. Regular weight check: In our case, we can realize we've gained or lost weight by trying out old clothes, but dogs can't be judged by these parameters. So, its best to keep a regular check on your dog's weight to see how much weight is gained or lost, perhaps on a daily basis. Junk treats: It is always important to keep a tight rein on the number of treats (like candies or sweets) that you give your dog. Don't add more pounds to your dog's weight with this junk food even if you use it as an incentive to get your dog to do something (like sit, or stand, or go). Being the affectionate creatures they are, dogs are more thrilled with you than the treat you give them. So focus, instead on spending time taking care and playing with your dog.
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