Is Your Dog Packing On The Pounds?

Veterinary Technician Schools Offer Help

Overweight pets can experience health-related issues, say many Veterinary Technician Schools.  There is help because they also offer information and strategies on how to take off some pounds and reduce stress on joints, diabetes-related disease, and liver abnormalities.

Obesity results when food intake is coupled with reduced exercise, a matter that you, as a pet owner, have complete influence and control over. 
Like humans, when calories are consumed in quantities larger than the dog’s metabolic needs, obesity results.  A reputable vet technician school, your veterinarian, or other health care professionals, can advise guidelines on calories for your dog’s age, breed, and overall health condition.

For example, as dogs get older, they may become less active, thus the propensity to pack on the pounds increases.  Breeds like Labrador Retrievers and Pugs are more susceptible to weight gain as they age.  Some other breeds may be more prone to weight gain as well. However, all dogs have the potential to become obese.

One way to determine if the family dog is overweight is to feel for the backbone and the ribs. In a lean dog, you should not need to press firmly to feel either the backbone or ribs.  Another test for obesity is to stand above your dog.  You should be able to visibly see a ‘waist’ between the back of the ribs and hips.  From the sides, you should be able to identify a ‘tuck’ from the tummy with the abdomen going up from the ribs to just inside the thighs. 

If you think you’ve spotted a problem in your dog’s weight, consider making dietary changes.  You should consult with your vet’s office, prior to making adjustments in calorie intake and exercise regimen.

Things to consider if your dog is overweight:

  1. Get advice from your veterinarian as to caloric needs and a dog food that provides reduced but adequate calories and fiber content.  You will need to determine a new portion size as well as a normal to moderately fermentable fiber, so as not to increase the frequency or soften the consistency of stools.  Your veterinarian can also advise the necessary required fats to ensure nutrients that preserve your dog’s coat and skin while dieting.
  2. Since overweight dogs consume more calories than they need, this problem can be reversed by decreasing caloric intake and increasing activity levels.  This helps reduce your dog’s weight, alter body composition (fat to muscle), and adjust the metabolic rate.
  3. It is helpful to recognize your role as pet owner.  After all, you will need to change your behavior as a dog feeder so that your dog can adjust and maintain his healthiest weight.  If a habit of too many treats has contributed to weight gain, you will need to reduce them.  Incorporating an ongoing exercise program will help manage calories burned as well.

Finally, besides reducing treats there are some additional changes you can make that affect the management of your dogs eating habits.  Keep your pet out of the room the family eats in, thereby removing food temptation.  Also, feed your dog only in his food bowl.  This goes for treats as well.   

Certified veterinarian technician schools and reputable animal care programs alike will tell you that replacing food with valuable attention through play or exercise goes a long way in keeping the weight off your family dog.

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