The Importance Of Keeping Your Dog at a Healthy Weight
Like humans, it’s not unusual for your dog to put on a few extra pounds over the years. This extra weight can have serious implications to his overall health. That’s why it’s important to identify what the ideal weight is for your dog and help him maintain it with a healthy diet and proper exercise. This is the best way he can live a long, full and happy life.
Potential Health Issues
Overweight and obese dogs are vulnerable to a variety of health issues:
- Joint problems
- Heart and respiratory disease
- Liver disease
- Skin problems
- Heat intolerance
Determining if Your Dog is at a Healthy Weight
Stand over your dog viewing his back.
Look for a nice curved indentation in the area of the waist (just behind the rib cage). A “straight line” from head to tail, or even a bowed-out line along the back, could likely mean that your dog is overweight.
View your dog from the side.
There should be a nice “tuck up ” area behind the rib cage and before the hind legs. A “straight line ” or a saggy area in the belly is a sign that he is overweight.
Gently run your fingers along your dog’s rib cage.
The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly, as opposed to large “sheets ” of fat moving along the ribs.
View your dog’s face.
A rounded face or visible folds of skin around the face and under the chin could mean that he is overweight. Keep in mind your dog’s breed when making this evaluation.
Check the area above the base of your dog’s tail.
Overweight dogs have extra padding and folds in this area.
As a guide, if your dog is
20% above his ideal weight,
he is considered obese.
What You Can Do
To keep your dog at an ideal weight, you need to balance how much he eats with his activity level. The following diet and exercise guidelines will help keep your dog lean and healthy.
Providing your furry friend with a diet that includes nutrient-rich ingredients with a low caloric density—like the ones he can enjoy with BLUE Longevity™ dog food—is most important.
A brisk walk is an ideal way to give your dog the exercise he needs. Keep him at a steady pace—about 12-15 minutes per mile.
Look for treats with only natural, healthy ingredients—BLUE Health Bars™ contain whole grains, garden veggies and fruit. They’re nutritious and delicious.
We love to spoil our four-legged family members, but food is not a substitute for love and attention. If your dog is scrounging for food when you know he should be full, treat him to some extra playtime.
Know Your Breed
Certain breeds are more susceptible to weight problems and obesity. Basset Hounds, Golden and Labrador Retrievers, Dachshunds and Cocker Spaniels are just a few of the breeds whose weights need constant monitoring.
Keep his water bowl full. Hydration is important for good digestion and overall health.
Make sure that your dog gets periodic weigh-ins. As you probably know all too well, it’s easier to keep weight off than try to take it off.
It’s important your dog sees the vet at least once a year—to assess his overall health and monitor any weight gain that may have occurred in the previous year.