Dog Obesity: a Growing Epidemic
Everywhere you look, there are headlines regarding America's ever-growing obesity epidemic. But recently, some of these headlines have been devoted to our favorite furry friends. According to recent statistics 52.7% of U.S. dogs are obese or overweight. That means half of the 46 million plus households across the country own a dog with a little extra pudge. And while a chunky chihuahua or pudgy Pomeranian might sound adorable, the consequences of dog obesity are anything but. Dog obesity can result in a myriad of health problems, from diabetes, to bone and joint disorders, to decreased life expectancy. And not only is this concerning for the wellbeing of your dog, but it can cost a pretty penny down the line at the pet hospital.
Luckily, you're not completely helpless in this situation. Here's what you can do to help fight dog obesity:
Know Their Ideal Weight
Knowing your pet's ideal weight is the first essential step to helping them maintain a healthy body composition. Talk to your vet, or do some independent research on your dog's breed. How much do they weigh? How much should they weigh? Getting a handle on your dog's ideal weight and shape will help you to get started on their potential weight loss plan.
Get Ample Exercise
Even during the cold winter months, pets should get plenty of exercise. Dog owners have the responsibility of making sure your dog gets at least one walk per day, though ideally two to three a day is best for optimal health. However, puppies do not need as much exercise as older dogs, and over-exercising puppies can lead to future joint problems. Instead, follow this rule of thumb: for every month of age, add five minutes of exercise to your puppy's daily routine. That means if they're four months old, they require 20 minutes of exercise.
Visit Your Local Veterinary Practice
If you have concerns about your dog's weight, your pet hospital is the best place to start. A healthy weight is part of an all-encompassing pet health care plan. During your annual routine preventative care for pets visit, discuss ways that you can help to make your pet as healthy as possible. Additionally, your veterinary technician can help you to rule out any ailments that could potentially cause obesity.
The Right Amount of Good Food
Just like people food, pet food these days is filled with junky additives and ingredients that are just plain bad for our pets. When buying pet food, be sure to read the ingredients and buy formulas with minimal additives. Additionally, know how much you should feed your dog. Refer to handy dog food calculators like this one here to find out how much you should feed your dog. Either that, or ask your veterinary medicine pet hospital for advice.