The number of overweight dogs in the United States keeps rising. According to a 2012 survey conducted by the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 52.5 percent of dogs in the country are obese. While a chubby pooch might look adorable, the extra weight is not good for his health. Obesity can increase a dog's likelihood of diabetes, heart disease and other chronic health conditions. If your dog is carrying extra weight, it is not too late to do something about it. Here are six ways to help your pooch lose weight.
Measure Your Dog's Food
If you want your furry friend to lose weight, it is essential to measure his food. If you just pour kibble freely into a bowl, your dog may eat more food than he truly needs. Since all dogs need different amounts of food, ask your veterinarian how much you should be feeding yours. A veterinarian or vet clinic will assess your dog's weight and activity level to determine how much food he should eat on a daily basis.
Give Vegetables as Treats
All dogs enjoy treats, but giving your pooch milk bones all the time is not good for his waistline. If you want to give your dog a treat, feed him something healthy. For example, consider giving him carrots, green beans or celery. These vegetables are low in calories and rich in nutrients.
Avoid Giving Your Dog Table Scraps
When your dog is staring at you with his big, brown eyes, it can be tempting to give him a piece of your pork chop. However, feeding your pooch table scraps is not good for his health and can make him pack on more weight. As difficult as it is, do not give into your dog's cute looks.
Do Not Forget About Exercise
Humans are not the only ones who benefit from daily exercise; dogs also get a lot out of physical activity. If you exercise your dog every day, he will burn calories and lose weight a lot easier. For instance, you can take him on a 30-minute walk around the neighborhood every morning. Throwing a ball or Frisbee in the yard can also help your pooch burn off calories. Another benefit of exercising your dog on a regular basis is that he will burn off excess energy and be more calm at the end of the day.
Do Not Leave Your Dog's Dish Out
If you are trying to help your dog lose weight, you should avoid leaving his dish out all day. This encourages him to eat when he is not really hungry. Put the dog bowl away until it is time to feed your dog.
Feed Your Dog Grain Free Food
Grain free dog food has been gaining popularity and is a lot better for your pooch. It does not contain all of the fillers that regular dog food has and can help your furry friend lose weight faster. Grain free dog food contains more meat-based ingredients, such as lamb, fish and chicken. Feeding your dog grain free food can also improve many digestive and allergy problems.
If you follow these helpful tips, you can help your pooch lose weight and become healthier. However, realize that weight loss does not come over night and will require a lot of time and dedication. If you feed your furry friend the right foods and exercise him regularly, he can lose weight. However, if you are still not seeing results, you should take your pooch to see a veterinarian. A veterinarian will evaluate your dog and determine if an underlying health condition is hindering his weight loss.