Why should my dog lose weight?
As few as five pounds above the ideal body weight can put your dog at risk for developing some serious medical conditions. Unfortunately, when a dog is overweight or obese it no longer is a question of if your dog will develop a condition secondary to the excess weight but how soon and how serious. Some of the common disorders associated with excess weight include:
- Type 2 diabetes
- Heart disease
- Increased frequency of joint injuries
- High blood pressure
- Some forms of cancer – especially intra-abdominal cancers
Overweight and obese dogs are usually having shorter lives than their fitter, normal weight counterparts. Heavy dogs tend to physically interact less with their families and are less energetic and playful. Because they tend to lie around more, it is easier to overlook early signs of illness, since we may attribute their lethargy to their daily routine.
When you are introducing a new diet to your dog, you should allow about a week to make the transition. To minimize digestive upsets, mix the old and new diets together in gradually increasing proportions. Start by feeding one-quarter of the new diet mixed with three-quarters of the old diet for one to two days, then increase to half and half for another two days, then three-quarters new food and one-quarter old food for a final two to three days before completely switching to the new diet.
The first thing you can do to help your dog lose weight is to increase the intensity and length of your daily walks. You should aim for a daily brisk 30-minute walks. Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs, changing its location frequently so that the dog always has to walk to get to its food bowl. Do not leave food out while you’re away from home. You can’t control who eats what when you’re not around.