So, you think your dog or cat might be overweight? The last time you could see or feel anything resembling your dog’s ribs seemed like years ago. Maybe he seems a bit plump, or maybe your pet is experiencing other health issues due to its weight. Whether it’s a low hanging belly on a dog that can barely walk, or a few pounds extra, we can help!
Know Your Pet’s Recommended Weight
You can’t quite know how much weight your dog (or cat) has really put on without knowing how much they Should Weight. Though there are always exceptions, you can almost certainly find your breed’s standard among the almost 200 dog breeds the American Kennel Club recognizes.
Some breeds are naturally ‘deep chested’, and some might appear thin when they are actually healthy. Others might look overweight when they merely have a large coat, and some underweight dogs might look healthy due to a large coat. Though many people who know what to look for can tell if their pets are healthy, it can sometimes be tricky.
Of course, your veterinarian will know exactly what to look for, and not only can help you recognize signs of weight gain but help you develop a plan for healthy weight loss.
Watch the Carbs
Humans don’t quite ‘need’ carbohydrates to survive, but they do to remain healthy. For us, carbs are our main source of energy. Anyone who tried a ‘no carb diet’ probable ended up tired/exhausted most of the time, if not worse.
The case is quite different for dogs! There once was a time when wolves would go for several days without a meal; they needed to rely on fat storage for energy. Many wolves still survive the same way in the wild today. Though domesticated dogs have lived among humans for hundreds of (some breeds thousands) years, through many generations, and have adapted to our way of life, they still don’t rely on carbohydrates the same way we do.
- In a natural setting, a wolf’s diet will consist of around 15% carbohydrates, and only because wolves are sometimes forced to scavenge when they can’t rely on animal meat. With so many cheaply produced plant-based pet foods on the market today, the avg. dog diet might consist of 45% or more carbs!
Though even many of the so-called ‘premium’ dog food brands will use more carbs than they should, some of the more popular brands flood the market with very poor choices. Try to feed your pet an animal-based food with top ingredients consisting of animal meat.
- Try not to feed your pet to much ‘people food’. Not only are these foods often high in carbs, but they also offer more salt/sodium than you want to be feeding to your pet.
Exercise is Important!
You don’t have to run a marathon with your pet, but daily exercise is important for more reasons than just maintaining a healthy weight. In some cases, all it will take is a yard to run around in or a daily walk. You want to avoid your pet being inactive all day.
Of course energy demands can vary greatly depending on age or breed. Do you know the demands of your breed? Do some research; it only takes a few minutes to ‘Google’ your pet!
‘Urban (or dry land) Mushing’ was developed by mushers who wanted to keep their dogs in shape during the warmer months, and has turned into a worldwide phenomenon! Many people with all kinds of dog breeds perform various kinds of urban mushing today, sometimes even joining in large contests or races.
With some specialized equipment that doesn’t have to cost you much at all, You can run along as your dog pulls you forward, let your pup run along in front of your bike or scooter, or even hook him up to a cart! Are you a hockey fan or just enjoy rollerblading/ inline skating? Yes, there is a form or urban mushing for you too!