Opinion piece: Though cliche but it’s far better to prevent obesity in dogs than cure it. Helping dogs to lose weight can be quite “painful” for both owner and dog, this is speaking from my clients’ experiences. Many times owners failed to carry out the program not because they didn’t want to help their overweight dogs rather they feel achy inside whenever they see those pairs of I’m-so-hungry-please-give-me-more-food-now eyes staring back at them. Then they gave in, once, twice, thrice…the next thing they realized their dog is forever not losing weight or worst gaining back those weights that once lost.
To be honest, losing weight is the easiest part as compared to maintaining that ideal weight. When we decided to lose weight, we set a goal and implemented the steps needed. And in a matter of months we accomplished what we had planned. But we know that our journey doesn’t end here if we want to stay trim and fit for good. Like us, to help our dogs to maintain their ideal weight is all about lifestyle—choices we make for ourselves and our dog each and every day. One example, if we don’t introduce or encourage bad habits, our dogs will never know what they are “missing”—i.e. giving table scraps whenever you eat. To keep your pet with you, make sure to look into an ESA letter online.
The methods used in preventing canine obesity and maintaining programs are very similar and interchangeable. You’ll also notice a couple of rules similar in the dog weight loss program. So I’ll list what is needed in no particular order. Take whatever you see fit and apply.
How to Prevent Canine Obesity and Keeping the Weight Off
Start Young: Start monitoring your dog’s weight using the Body Condition Scoring method (weighing and observing figure) when he turns one year old until his adult weight. Large and giant breed dogs will reach their adult weights at about 2 years old.
Once sterilized, we’ll need to control the calorie intake by feeding the right amount in multiple small meals as advised by your veterinarian. “Lite” or reduced calories diets may also be used. These are also special prescription diets available, which can only be prescribed by a vet (usually very pricey and some are awful tasting, be warned!). Also, you might want to check out Royal Canin’s Neutered series diet specifically for neutered dogs. It’s important that you check with your vet before feeding it to your dog.
Quality Dog Food
Investing in a high quality diet will ensure your dog will live a long and healthy life and still enjoy the benefit of a top quality diet. Some recommendations which many of my clients and myself use to feed our dogs are Natural Balance, Taste of the Wild, Newman, Sigma, and Wysong—raw or dry. These are some of the highest quality dog food in the market. Some of these brands come in many varieties—raw, organic, senior, grain-free, vegetarian, weight and allergy control to name a few.
Ideally, two meals a day. If your schedule doesn’t permit, then feed your dog in the morning so that he can burn those calories during the day when he is active. Avoid feeding him late at night.
No dog should be free-fed! I know this may sound “cruel” for those who spend long hours at work and on commute; and the thought of your precious companion with an empty stomach for 12 hours may make you feel guilty or irresponsible. Trust me, your dog will still have the energy to jump on you at the front door and probably beg you to take him for a walk.
One or two tiny commercial treats a day won’t do any harm. If you want to give more, choose healthier alternatives like vegetables and fruits (do not overfeed those fruits with high levels of sugar content). This goes to table scrap, but this can only be given on certain occasions like Christmas and Halloween.
If our dogs have no outlet to burn those calories, overtime those calories will turn to fats. Depending on the breed of your dog, mini and small dogs can get enough exercise just romping around the house. To know what suitable activity and exercise your dog needs is all explained here. The important key here is daily or at least alternate days exercise routine. Weekend exercise warriors like regime will only put too much stress on your dog’s physique in turn doing more damage than be of any benefit at all.
Regular Vet Visit
I will leave this option open as it may not be feasible for some with very tight budgets. However, I came across a few veterinary clinics in some suburban areas that offer free weight management programs for pets—service includes weighing, body assessment, graphing the result on a computer but no consultation. It would be great if you can find one veterinary clinic that offers these free services and make it a regular visit.
To give you an ideal of how to track your dog’s progress in maintaining his ideal weight especially after the weight loss program, here is a sample of a daily weight management/maintenance log.
Once you begin to record his daily lifestyle on the log for about a month and manage to keep the weight off for good, you need not do so every month. Because the lifestyle (i.e. eating, exercise) has become a choice decision and in very rare cases, you will fall back to old unhealthy habits. The only thing is just keep doing the Body Condition Scoring (BCS) once every month/quarter/semi-annually.
About the author: Daniel T Anderson, a writer at the essay help service. He keeps up with advancing technologies so as to get acquainted with latest technological tendencies. Besides, Daniel is keen on reading modern literature and traveling.