How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

Recent studies have indicated that up to 50% of dogs can be classified as overweight or obese. Your vet should be looking for weight problems at every checkup, but one easy way to do this on your own is to feel around your dog’s ribs and spine. If you can’t easily feel your dog’s ribcage, she needs to lose a few pounds.iStock_000018153089_Small

Sometimes, dogs can be overweight because of a medical problem such as hypothyroidism. Certain breeds, such as Scottish Terriers, Beagles, Golden Retrievers, Cocker Spaniels, and Rottweilers, also have a genetic propensity to heaviness. In most cases, however, a dog’s weight gain is related to poor feeding practices.

Food Does Not Equal Love
If your dog is overweight, you must first recognize that your love for your pet does not need to be expressed only in terms of food. Just as emotional eating can cause you to go up a jean size, equating love with food can create an overweight pet. Make a conscious effort to show affection for your dog by taking her out for a walk or playing a game of fetch. She’ll get the exercise she needs and you’ll burn a few extra calories yourself in the process! All you need is 10 to 15 minutes of activity two or three times per day to help bring your pooch’s weight back to a healthy level.

Use Treats Wisely
Another common mistake dog owners make is reinforcing unhealthy behavior with improper use of treats. If you give your dog a treat every time she’s noisy or fussy, she’ll discover that begging produces results. If your dog is overweight, treats should be limited to times when they have a specific purpose — such as using positive reinforcement training to teach your dog to obey commands. The treats you select should also be chosen to provide an added nutritional boost for your dog. For example, Max & Ruffy’s Powerhouse (Sweet Potato & Alfalfa) dog treats are rich in beta-carotene and packed with fiber.

Get Everyone On Board
Finally, make sure that everyone in your household is on board with your plan to help your furry friend lose weight. When a dog has more than one caregiver, it’s common for problems to arise when multiple people are offering her extra food and treats several times per day. This would be the equivalent of you snacking between every meal and then wondering why your diet isn’t working!

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