How Can I Reduce My Dog's Weight?

by General Information

Some owners mistakenly believe that to reduce the dog's weight they should just feed less food. It is not only the quantity of food that the dog eats that is the problem but more the quality of food and lack of exercise.

Cutting down on the amount of food may result in the dog lacking vital vitamins and minerals. A visit to the vet is necessary before embarking on a weight reduction programme. The dog should be weighed and given a thorough health check. Vets usually aim to reduce the dog's weight by losing 1 – 3% of the dog's bodyweight per week. The vet will prescribe a reduction diet that is protein rich but low in calories.

What often goes unnoticed is the amount of table scraps and treats the dog consumes per day. Leftover junk food is as harmful for dogs as it is for humans being high in fat, salt, carbohydrates, preservatives and additives. Feeding table scraps in addition to the dog's usual meal can quickly contribute to the dog becoming overweight. Of course not all scraps are unhealthy. Scraps of meat or vegetables should be fed as a part of the dog's meal rather than in addition to it.

Some owners habitually feed their dog a snack each time they consume food themselves. When questioned many owners admitted feeding their dog's tea and biscuits, bowls of cereal, cakes, sandwiches, pies and crackers. This is in addition to the dog being fed treats and rawhide chews.

One single bone-shaped treat can contain as much as 20-30 calories. Bearing in mind that an average 20lb dog needs 690 kcal per day, a handful of treats represents a substantial portion of the total daily calories.

Reward training based on using treats is adopted by the majority of dog owners. If using treats in training sessions choose ones that are healthy such as snippets of dried liver, carrot sticks or cubes of apple. Any other treats used should be taken from the dog's daily meal ration.

This article was published on Sunday, July 01, 2012