When my dog Storm was a puppy, he always had a great figure. He always had a nice hourglass shape, and was in excellent condition. He used to get 4 dog walks a day, plus some great hikes and high energy outings.Well, he is 11 years old now, and he is still in great shape. But, it has not been easy. He still gets at least 2 very solid exercising walks a day, and he gets a third shorter walk every day. Plus, he gets to play in the backyard every morning, or whenever he wants to go outside. He still gets the occasional big hike or outing.
He is a large dog at 92 lbs., the last time he was weighed. His hourglass shape is just as trim as when he was a puppy, and his stomach tucks up under his body, as it should.
I am not telling you this because I want to show off my dog. In fact, at one time he was a bit overweight and we had to reverse my pet’s obesity. The way I have described him is how any pet should look. An hourglass shape when looking at them from above, and when looking from the side their stomach should be tucked up under the body.
Like I said, it has not been easy to keep the weight off of my dog. Even with the daily exercise, I still have to regulate his diet to prevent pet obesity. He does get treats, but they are low fat, natural treats without preservatives or other junk that can damage his health or affect the way his body processes them. And he only gets one treat daily. On Saturday’s he gets a special vegi-bone as his treat.
No, I am not mean for witholding treats. I love my dog dearly, and I make the effort to control his weight so he can live a longer, healthier life. When our cat Emily was still with us, she hardly got any treats and she lived for 17 years. Treats for your pet are really to make us feel good.
Your pet knows nothing about treats until we introduce them to treats. And, they are not a necessary part of a diet. Storm still gets treats, but what I want to let you know is that pets do not need them.
What you need to understand is that the treat manufacturers do not have to post the calories on their products, and most do not. They do give the fat content, protein content, and so forth, but what does that mean to the average person? Well, you can choose the products with lower fat content, but you still do not really know how many
calories you are giving your pet with each treat.
And if you hand out treats like they were part of your pet’s regular meal, you are most likely packing on the calories, and the pounds.
As always, make sure your pets have a good check-up to make sure they do not have any underlying health problems that could be causing them to become overweight.
If your pet is already overweight, you may want to cut out the treats altogether until you can begin to reverse the pet’s obesity. This means you must resist their begging, no matter how bad they beg. This is a side effect of the treat issue if you give a lot of treats. Unless the pet is trained well, they can become an habitual beggar, which can be a nuisance.
After your pet’s weight is under control, then you can resume giving treats in a controlled manner. If your pet is just a little overweight, you may simply reduce the amount of treats given.
Now for the food issue. Again, quality is key. Feeding a good quality food without fillers or large amounts of carbohydrates will greatly help you control your pet’s weight. And, how much do you feed your pet? Do you follow the guidelines on the back of the bag, and simply feed that amount?
This may shock you but these are just guidelines. You do not have to feed that suggested amount to your pet. Every animal’s system is different and will process the food they eat differently. One pet may need more than the suggested
amount, and another may need less.
The amount also depends on how active they are. If your pet is not active at all, then they probably do not need the amount listed on the bag. Talk to your vet to help you prevent pet obesity.
Pet food brands are all different too. Your pet may eat more of one brand, and if you switch, may need less of another brand. Always go with top quality food.
If, after you have cut back the treats for about 3-4 weeks, and you do not notice any change in your pet’s weight, then it is time to cut back on the food a little. Do this in small increments, and wait for at least three weeks to watch for any changes. Keep a record of your pet’s weight over this time period to see exact changes. You may not be able to notice the changes by looking at the animal only, so a record will help you greatly.
Adjust your pet’s food as necessary, and keep records. You should ask your vet what the ideal weight is for your pet
according to their size and stature. Then, as your pet nears that ideal weight, you need to begin to stabilize the amount of food and treats so you can maintain this weight.
This will all take time, and a consistent effort on your part. Your pets rely on you to take care of them in their domestic environment.
Remember, just because you have achieved your pet’s ideal weight now does not mean you are done. You need to constantly monitor your pet’s weight to notice any changes, and make any changes to your feeding and treat amounts.
my story of my dog Storm, did you notice that he still gets out on three walks a day? I know this may be unrealistic for some of you, but if your pet does not get any exercise, even one 35 minute walk for your dog will prevent pet obesity. If you can get your cat to chase a toy mouse and bat at a feather on a stick for a few minutes several times every day,
this will all help.
And, you can always call your favorite dog walker to help you in getting your pets out for a daily exercise walk.
Just as in humans, diet and exercise are key in keeping your pets trim and healthy.