An estimated 45% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese, according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, putting them at risk for serious health problems, including diabetes, arthritis, heart disease, high blood pressure, and a shorter life expectancy.
How to Spot a Portly Pooch
Unfortunately, many people don’t know that they have an overweight dog. Veterinarians report that nearly 50% of dogs are overweight, but only 17% of pet owners agree. An easy test is to stand behind a dog and look for a curved waist, just behind the rib cage. A pet with a straight line from head to tail, or even a bowed line along the back may mean that they are carrying more weight than they should.
You can also gently run your fingers along the pet’s rib cage. The ribs should be felt easily and the skin should glide over the ribs smoothly; you should not feel a lot of skin moving under the fingers.
How To Start
The good news is that pets with an ideal weight live nearly two years longer than over-weight pets, so it pays to get Fido in shape.
First things first, schedule an examination with your dog’s veterinarian for a weigh-in and to start working on a safe weight-reduction and exercise plan. Knowing the correct serving size of food for your overweight dog is imperative for success. Companies often place information on labels or include charts on their Web sites. But because many variables, such as size, are factored into the equation, get advice from your veterinarian on how often and how much to feed your dog.
Dogs’ need for exercise varies depending on their age, size, breed and individual traits, but most dogs benefit enormously from 30 minutes of daily exercise. At first, focus on simple activities such as playing fetch, tug, running, swimming and at least one half-hour walk a day.
There are also some great services and programs in the DC area to help get your dog in shape. This year Olde Towne Pet Resort, with locations in Springfield and Dulles, Va., introduced the region’s first sleep away camp to slim down portly pooches with a customized ten-day program. The Resort also has an indoor swimming pool with water workouts, agility field play, cardio jogging, pawlates, and a day camp where pets can play together tonaturally get fit.
Remember, prevention is better than cure. So in addition to a nutritious, balanced diet, make sure your dog thrives by providing regular exercise, regular veterinary check-ups and plenty of TLC.
The Olde Towne Pet Resort is a day spa & hotel for dogs and cats in the Northern Virginia area. The facility’s trained and caring professionals spare no detail in ensuring the utmost in your pet’s comfort, safety, and enjoyment. As a stateof- the-art pet resort,various boarding options, amenities and unique spa services are available for dogs and cats.
Written by Pet Experts at Olde Towne Pet Resort