Roly-poly puppies are cute. Using treats to train them to sit, beg or fetch is common. Your dog will not be a puppy forever, but it will have learned to expect a food treat for performing or doing what is expected of them. As dog’s age they tend to put on weight the same way their human companions do. As with humans, dogs need to be careful of any weight gain, gaining too much is not healthy.
Health Problems Associated with Weight Gain
Many of the health problems you dog may suffer from are the same you would have if you were overweight. Some common problems that overweight dogs experience are listed below.
• Joint problems
• Heart disease
• Heat intolerance
• Skin problems
Ways to Tell if your Dog is Overweight
Take a good look at your dog’s body. Appearance is one of the most obvious ways to tell if your dog is overweight. Some of the areas where you need to pay special attention are listed below:
• Back: Stand over your dog and look down. There should be an indentation just below his ribcage forming a waist.
• Side: When you look at your dog from the side, the area between his ribcage and hind legs should swoop up. His bell should not hang down or even be straight across.
• Face: Check and see if your dog has saggy skin if this is not your dog’s normal facial features due to its breed.
It is important you take steps to help your dog return to a normal weight. Being at a normal weight will make your dog happier and healthier. It will also live longer. Below you will find a few starting points that will help your dog regain a healthy weight.
• Nutrition: Provide him with food that is rich in nutrients and does not have fillers. Look at the ingredient list, the first ingredient should be a type of meat, not a meat by-product.
• Exercise: Take your dog for walks. Even if you have a doggy door, it is important to take him out for a walk. Try to keep him moving at about 4 miles per hour. This would be a nice, brisk walk for the both of you.
• Non-food rewards: Instead of giving a treat for sitting still and not barking when told, give him extra attention. Squat down and give him a nice rub. A simple pat on the head is not good enough. Let him know you are praising him; use a moment of undivided attention.
• Water: Having fresh water always available for your pet is not only healthy in itself; it will help them lose a bit of weight.
Obesity is not only a human problem. It is getting out of hand at a significant rate among animals too. It is easy to give them a few scraps from the table when they look cute begging. It may be hard at first, but they will still love you when you tell them to lie down when they beg. Your dog is a part of your family. You work to keep your children and spouse at a healthy weight, you should do the same for your dog.