How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
by: Emma Snow


Obesity is on the rise for canines. The reasons for this influx are similar to those that humans experience, too much food and too little exercise. The results of obesity are similar for your canine friends too. Studies reveal that 25% of overweight dogs experience severe joint problems. This effects there daily activities such as walking, standing and sitting. It also increases pain and makes jumping up or down off the bed difficult. If a dog is overweight its lungs cannot function properly- the extra fat pushes against the lungs and diaphragm and makes breathing more difficult. Carrying extra weight decrease ability to preform daily activities. It takes more work to do everything. Body systems have to do more than they were designed for because extra weight places strain on the heart, muscles and respiratory system. Because being overweight causes daily tasks to be more difficult and causes more pain, dogs can become more irritable. Dogs who are overweight have a shorter life span and a lower quality of life. However, there are several things that a pet owner can do to help their animals shed the pounds and live a longer, happier life.

Assessing Your Dog

One way to get an idea if your dog is overweight is by checking their ribs. The ribs should not be visible as they stand, but still detectable when you touch them or when they move (such as jumping in the air to catch a Frisbee). If you cannot feel your dogs ribs, they are probably overweight. The first and for most important measure though, is to take your dog to their veterinarian. Your dog should be seen on a yearly basis for a routine check up. One reason why visiting your veterinarian is so important is that some dogs do not look overweight. Large dogs can especially hide weight well. Your veterinarian will be able to decide if your dog is overweight and why. To help your veterinarian keep a record of what you are doing with your dog before you go. Record your dogs patterns such as sleeping, eating and exercise. In some cases weight issues might be due to medical conditions, such a thyroid problems, verses overeating and under exercising.

Feeding

Dog's have a strong need for affection. One reason dogs overeat is that pet owners use food as an easy way to show their affection. It is not recommended to do this. Using food as a means of reward trains your dog to seek food for affection. This adds to their weight gain and all the other associated problems. Instead, fill their need for attention with games, petting and playing or get a new toy or go for a walk. Habits are hard to break, so
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