What are you feeding your plump pooch?
It’s a well-known fact that more than one-third of US adults struggle with obesity, but you might be surprised to learn that we are passing our poor eating habits on to our pets.
A new study from the Banfield Pet Hospital, showed that 1 in 4 dogs in the United States is overweight or obese. Why is this a problem? Dogs who overeat are prone to the same health issues as overweight humans, including Type 2 diabetes, respiratory and heart disease, osteoarthritis, high blood pressure and cancer.
Since 2006, doggie obesity has risen 37% and diabetes in dogs has risen 32%. However, most dog owners don’t think there’s anything wrong with their portly pups. This problem has become so prevalent that the Association for Pet Obesity has deemed October as National Pet Obesity Awareness Month.
Here is a chart to track your dog’s weight and how much he or she should be eating each day!
Also, check out these tips on how to ensure that your dog has healthier eating habits.
- Feed small meals frequently. Divide the total volume or calories into four to six smaller meals – whatever you do, don’t feed your dog extra food.
- Walk your dog or take it outside when it begs. The distraction and interaction may be just enough to make it forget its desire for food or treats. Plus, exercise is essential when it comes to shedding a few pounds.
- Move the food bowl upstairs or downstairs at different times in the week it so that your dog must walk to get to its food bowl.
- Use toys, balls, laser pointers, squeaky toys, anything that your dog finds interesting to chase. Try to engage your dog for at least ten to fifteen minutes twice a day. There are numerous toys that move and squeak that may also be interesting to your dog.
- Do not use a self-feeder. While this seems obvious, auto-feeders are nothing more than unlimited candy machines to a fat dog. If you must, use an automated feeder that dispenses a set amount of food several times per day.
- Pet your dog or play with it when it begs for food. Many dogs substitute food for affection
- When the bowl is empty and your dog is begging for more, add a few kibbles to the bowl. By a few, we mean ten or fifteen – not a handful.
- Give vegetables such as baby carrots, broccoli, celery and asparagus. Dogs love crunchy treats so make it a healthy – and low-calorie – choice.
- Offer fresh water instead of food. Many dogs love fresh water so when they are eyeing the empty food bowl, fill up the water bowl instead.