Is Your Dog Overweight?    

Over half of the dogs and cats in the United States are overweight, which causes millions to die prematurely, creates a plethora of health problems, and costs thousands of dollars in veterinary costs.   Unfortunately, many people do not even realize that their pets are too fat!  

 The first thing is to consult your veterinarian who is best qualified to determine if your pet needs to lose a few pounds. The next step is to determine a weight loss plan – which will likely include changing to a more appropriate food, changing the amount of food, and increasing exercise. One advantage that dogs and cats have when it comes to losing weight is that they have no choice in the matter. They are completely dependent upon us to be their personal weight loss coach.

 Including more exercise is easy to do, but when it comes to changing food, you may need to do a bit of research. Many people will automatically switch to a “weight loss” formula dry food. The problem with any type of dry food is that it is loaded with carbohydrates, which is probably what contributed to the weight gain in the first place. You want to find a high protein, low carb food made with quality ingredients. Switching to a top-quality food will give your dog more nutrients in every bite so they won’t need to eat as much. Not to mention, better quality foods include more vitamins and minerals that will aid in weight loss and promote better overall health.

 Many pet owners and experts believe that feeding a commercially prepared frozen raw diet is best for many reasons, but especially for weight loss, as raw diets do not have the excess carbohydrates. If you want to stick with kibble, look for one that has a lower percentage of carbohydrates and is lower in calories. The feeding guidelines on the package are usually very broad, so you may be feeding portions that are too large.  Don't feed too many treats and make sure the treats are not made up of carbohydrates or sugars. Consider using human food such as berries, carrots or cheese for treats.

 According to Dr. Becker, a well-known holistic veterinarian, “90% of the dog foods on the market contain ingredients that are not only biologically inappropriate for canines, but are also loaded with salt, fats and sugars. Most popular dog food brands contain up to 80 percent filler, primarily corn, wheat, rice and potato. These carbohydrates are added because a primarily meat-based mixture is expensive to produce. If your dog or cat is one of the millions of overweight pets, it is vital to get him on a healthier track starting now.”

Here is a more in-depth article about how to help your pet lose weight.