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News and Information about Dogs, Cats, and Pet Products

Keeping your pet at their ideal weight is so important to their health. If your pet is overweight, I strongly urge you to take the steps to start helping them lose the excess pounds.

To see if your do is a their ideal weight, there are 3 areas to check:

(1) Ribs

You should be able to feel your dog’s ribs as if there is a thin blanket over them. You can feel them, but they are not noticeably visible when standing. If you feel a layer of “squish” over this area or can’t feel the ribs at all, your dog is overweight.

(2) Abdominal Tuck

You should notice an upward slope of your dog’s belly from the end of their rib cage to their thighs. If there is barely to no slope here, your dog is overweight.

(3) Waist

From a bird’s eye view, looking down at your dog, you should notice an inward tapering of a waist, just before their rear end. If you can’t make out a waist, or you are noticing more of a sausage shape here, your dog is overweight.

The above 3 areas to check ideal weight are there in EVERY dog.

Extra weight adds extra stress on the joints as well as the rest of the body. It can make them prone to so many different health conditions as well as make it more difficult to recover from injuries. If your pet is overweight, it’s time to start taking the steps to slim them down.

To help your pet lose the extra weight, there are two main areas to look at:

(1) Food

Your dog’s diet is the most influential factor to their weight. Start by cutting back their food, or better yet, look to providing your pet with a better quality food. Keep track of everything that goes into your dog’s mouth everyday. If your dog gets a treat in the day, be sure you account for this at meal time. If you feed a food like kibble or canned food, try going to a less processed food such as a freeze, or best you can feed raw.

Notice the 3 areas to check: ribs, abdominal tuck, and waist spell “raw?” They were put in that order at no mistake! Raw food provides your dog with nutrition in the form their body was designed to recognize and utilize. It will make weight loos much easier, and it will benefit every other aspect of their health as well.

Sometimes if a dog has been on a kibble or canned food for a long period of time they are lacking the beneficial bacteria and enzymes in their gut micro-biome. Supplementing probiotics and enzymes, or feeding foods like raw green tripe to  replenish and balance their gut can help with weight loss as well.

(2) Exercise

Be sure your dog is getting an ample amount of exercise in their day. Many dogs are lacking the amount of exercise they should get. There are so many ways to help your pet get active, whether a walk, a run, swimming, hiking, playing with other dogs, playing with you, and much more. There are so many things you can do to get your pet moving.  You can get creative here.

There are many interactive toys available to help get your pet physically and mentally stimulated on days you may be extra busy, such as treat balls to roll around the house. “Wait, treats?!” Again, be sure you account for any treats at meal time and be sure they are minimally processed treats such as freeze dried or dehydrated treats, limited ingredients such as a single protein source, so that they do not hinder your weight loss goals.

You can also check out dog training facilities and try out some dog sports like agility, flyball, canine freestyle, disc dog, or dock diving to get your dog moving and having fun. If your dog is older or has joint issues, you can look into a lower impact activity like nose work or barn hunt (some jumping).

If your pet is already at their ideal weight, thank you so much for looking out for your pet’s health and wellness. If you realize your pet is overweight after reading this article, start your plan and make it your number one priority to get your pet to a healthy weight.

Dr. Erin O’Connor is an AVCA Animal Chiropractor and ACAN Naturopathic Carnivore Nutrition Consultant. She sees patients out of her clinic, Vitality Chiropractic Center in Aurora, as well as Autumn Green Animal Hospital in Geneva. For further information, visit myvitalitychiropractic.com or email Dr. O’Connor at drerinoconnor@myvitalitychiropractic.com.

 

 

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