According to the Pet Obesity Prevention website, 1 in 2 dogs is overweight or obese. Isn’t that crazy?
Pet obesity is a serious concern for pet owners. In fact, it continues to be the “greatest health threat to dogs and cats” states Pet Obesity Prevention Founder, veterinarian Dr. Ernie Ward.
Obesity is a vicious cycle. 70% of obese puppies grow up to be obese adults (Pet Health Network). Here’s why: if a dog is at-risk for obesity, they’ll experience a reduction in their lust for life, physical activity, and mental/psychological health. This, in turn, makes them more likely to develop physical ailments, such as herniated disks, joint issues, and cardiovascular disease. So it’s especially important to build good habits for pups as early as you can.
Woof. So what can you do about it?
Without further ado...
Cause #1: The Bad Stuff
Call us crazy, but we think pet food manufacturers should be supplying food that has your dog’s best interest at heart. Unfortunately - despite appearances - most companies don’t.
Solution: Turn your nose up when you see words like “chicken flavor”, “chicken meal”, “rendered meat”, fillers, preservatives. Take a look at the top five ingredients used in your current food and ensure the food includes vet-recommend, healthy ingredients. And, of course, make sure the food is balanced and includes high-quality ingredients.
Fortunately, PetPlate is here to help. We’ve worked hand-in-hand with a veterinary nutritionist to create some pretty amazing dog meals. Peep our ingredients here!
Cause #2: Stuffing their Faces
We know how hard it is to say no when your dogs looks up at you with their puppy-dog eyes and begs for food. The face! Those eyebrows! The sorrow! But, trust us, it’s not worth it.
Allowing your dog to eat more often than the recommended daily frequency builds bad habits and contributes to dogs begging more often. You might be tempted to feed your pup table scraps, leftovers, treats, or even leave out food for your dog to “graze” throughout the day while you’re at work. Just don’t do it.
Solution: Most experts recommend feeding your dog twice a day — once in the morning and once in the evening — though puppies under five months of age should be fed three to four times a day, or as directed by your veterinarian (Petfinder). Also, try to use services (wink wink...PetPlate!) that pre-portion your pup’s meals so you don’t overfeed them.
Cause #3: Avoiding the Gym
Without proper exercise, your dog could be especially at risk for a variety of health issues, such as cardiovascular disease. (They also could get bored or anxious throughout the day and rip up your couch!)
Solution: Specific exercise needs are based on a dog’s age, breed, size, and overall health, but your dog should spend around 30 minutes to two hours on an activity every day. Breeds in the hunting, working, or herding groups will need more (PetMD).
You can even set up daily reminders on your iPhone to feed your pup properly and make more time for your pup.
Cause #4: Copying You
Pets mimic their humans. If you watch a lot of television, they will cuddle up and watch, too. If you snack a lot or don’t have a regular eating schedule, they will follow suit.
Solution: stick to a regular routine, and be sure to balance your activities and meals. Your dog will love you all the more for it!
Cause #5: Drama
Drastic changes, such as moves to a new home, and even drastic dieting, can lead to complications. A dog, like a human, needs to maintain a steady environment and diet.
Solution: It’s exciting to make a new move, like moving into that new loft in Manhattan (congrats if that applies to you!), just be sure to take your dog’s needs into consideration, and make sure to help them ease into any new routine.
Have any questions on this topic? Interested in transitioning your dog to a healthier diet? Great - email us at [email protected]!