The most common medical condition I see in my clinic is obesity. Although we joke during the exam about “Chubby” having more to love, that extra weight puts the “Chubster” at risk. Currently, 53% of pet dogs and 55% of pet cats are overweight or obese. This excess weight can decrease “Chubby’s” life expectancy by 2 years or more. It also predisposes him to many more conditions such as liver and kidney disease, arthritis and even some cancers.
How can you fight the battle of the bulge? It all comes down to caloric intake; your pet must burn more calories than what they consume. So it starts with feeding, you control how much food “Chubby” consumes in a day. Take a look at the back of your food bag and find the appropriate amount for a dog his size and cut it back by about 10%.
Measure the amount with a measuring cup, I’m not talking about the Big Gulp cup you left on the counter, I mean an 8 oz measured cup. Next cut out all of those bacon-chewy-rubbery strips and feed him something lighter like sweet potatoes or melon. If decreasing “Chubby’s” diet does not seem to be working then talk to your veterinarian about some prescription diet foods that may be more suitable for him.
If after cutting back on food “Chubby” is still, well, chubby, talk to your vet about running some tests to see if there is an underlying medical reason why he is not losing weight.
It is important to exercise as well. Going for walks, chasing a laser light and playing fetch are great activities for all animals, as well as their owner. Remember the weight will not just fall off of your pet. It took time to get overweight; it will take time to lose it.