Invasion of the Round Hounds

September 10, 2017

in Cat Health

We’re facing an epidemic in the world and it isn’t the swine flu. Rather, it’s an over abundance of rotund canines. Ok, maybe epidemic is a bit strong but not by much. Just ask your veterinarian who will likely confirm that nearly 25% of the dogs they treat are heavier than they should be.

While some might think their portly pups are cute, extra weight on a dog can lead to trouble. Over-weight dogs tend to suffer from more health issues than their more svelte counterparts, experiencing increased incidents of joint and hip problems (such as arthritis), heart disease and diabetes. Worse, those extra pounds can shorten your pal’s already too-short life!

Fortunately, it’s probably not too late to come to your pet’s rescue. Step 1: commit to stop feeding your pup from the table! Yes, he loves table scraps and begs pitifully with those big sad eyes, but you have to be the grown up and do what is best for your pet rather than what’s easiest. Human food is often not healthy for your dog. Though most human foods won’t directly harm him, it’s better to stick with foods that are designed for his digestion, fed to him on a schedule and in regulated portions.

There are several ingredients used in human food that can actually cause health problems if ingested by your furry friend. Some of these items include: garlic, onions, hot peppers, salt, raisins and grapes. Play it safe and avoid giving your dog table scraps.

As mentioned, maintaining a regular feeding schedule is ideal for your pet. Left unattended, constantly filled bowls of food can lead to problems beyond even obesity. For example, free feeding your pet may lead to potty-training hassles. Naturally, what goes in must come out and a free-for-all feeding habit makes it difficult to predict when your dog will need to do his business. Regularly scheduled feedings make it far easier to predict and accommodate a pet’s potty needs.

To really make a difference in your pet’s weight management, eliminate all temptation entirely by throwing out fatty, processed dog treats completely. Opt, instead, for some of the many healthy pet snack alternatives out there. An option you might consider that doesn’t even require a visit to the pet food aisle is the lowly carrot. This naturally sweet and crunchy treat can become a favorite for some pups and yours might beg for these with the same enthusiasm he once had for the junk food you used to feed him.

All natural turkey bacon that you cook at home is also a great treat to feed your pooch. After all, what dog doesn’t like the smell and taste of bacon!? It is important to absorb all excess grease off the bacon after you cook it. The best way to do this is to use a paper towel. Cook a large batch, remove the grease, crumble it into bite sized pieces and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Easy and droolicious!

Despite their sometimes finicky tastes, dogs will often accept a very simple treat in the form of ice cubes. This is a great summer treat after a long walk. If you want to kick it up a notch, consider freezing a few turkey bacon crumbles inside the cubes. This may be just the cool, delicious and relatively healthy treat your pooch has been waiting for.

Having covered some food alternatives, it’s obviously important we also discuss exercise. This is where it’s time to accept that you need to set a good example. Add a lap to your usual walk around the block. You’ll both benefit from it. Just keep an eye on the weather. If it’s hot, give your pup breaks and consider bringing along a bottle of water. A nice, brisk walk is a great way for your dog to lose weight. And, who knows, you might just lose a few pounds yourself!

Keeping your furry friend happy and healthy is very important. Unfortunately, dogs do not live as long as we would like them too so isn’t important to keep them with us for as long as possible? Many people show love through food and that is a big no-no. Next time, instead of reaching for a treat when your dog does something wonderful, lavish him with praise and pet him like there is no tomorrow. Keeping your dog at a healthy weight is important not only for his happiness but yours as well!

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