As our dogs age their metabolism slows and they can become increasingly heavier. Obesity in dogs causes unnecessary pressure on their joints, vertebrae, and contributes to additional health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and more. Give your dog the best possible chance to live a long and healthy life. Here are three easy ways to keep your dog fit and fabulous.
- Monitor Food Intake
- Exercise Regularly
- Regular Health Exams
1.Monitor Food Intake
Seems like a no brainer, right? You’d be surprised at the number of dog owners that over feed their pets either with too large a portion or treats. Balancing proper nutrition and caloric intake can be difficult regardless of feeding raw, home cooked, or kibble.
Your animal’s body conformation, personality, and activity level play a large role in the necessary food portions. A dog that is very active for example, will likely metabolize faster and require a slightly larger portion.
A good rule of thumb, feed less than recommended by the pet food company. Click To Tweet
My rescue pup Beau came to us with his ribs showing and a voracious appetite. He was likely the runt of the litter and did not receive enough nutrition in his first few months. It created a food aggressive mutt that we struggle to slow down and is always begging for food. We struggled to put weight on him while young and as a result increased his portions temporarily until he reached his ideal weight. Once his coat improved and his ribs were not as visible we gradually reduced the amount he ate.
Food intake should be evaluated consistently throughout the year. Your dog will be more active during certain times of the year. In our climate, my dogs spent a lot of time outside in spring and fall running and playing, while during summer and winter I limit their time. As a result, I can have a little freedom with portions and treats during their more active periods.
Finally, watch out for all those hidden calories!
Supplements and treats are calories most people don’t consider when feeding their pets. Treats especially can be the biggest problem for many dog owners. My dogs are spoiled. I admit it. But if we’ve had a training session or a lot of treats that day, I reduce the amount of food they have for dinner. It’s all about moderation, not deprivation.
We are all busy, and most of us don’t exercise regularly. I know I don’t. But exercise is extremely important for our pet’s health. At a minimum your dog should be walked once daily. A nice, energetic walk rather than a sniff and see is ideal for maintaining or attaining the ideal weight.
It is easier to maintain your pet’s weight than try to lose it. Click To Tweet
Fun ways to exercise your pet:
- Regular walks
- Dog parks
- On leash running, cycling, skateboarding, or rollerblading
It is important to build up your pet’s fitness, just as you would with your own to avoid muscle strain. Start slow and work up to it. More, choose different exercises and routes to keep it fun! Exercising with your dog can be a great bonding experience.
3.Regular Health Exams
I cannot stress how important it is to have regular veterinary health exams for your pet. Your vet will evaluate your pet’s body score and advise you on best practices to maintain optimal health. Yes, you know your animal best but when you see your dog every day and may not notice your dog’s weight gain or loss.
Trust your veterinarian and follow their advice. They have your animal’s health needs at the forefront of their minds.
These three easy steps will have your dog fit and fabulous in no time! Feed your dog a well-balanced diet, exercise regularly, and have regular health checks.
Pin this helpful infographic to help you.
What do you do to keep your pet healthy and fit?