Between your dog and mine, one of our dogs is fat.
No, I’m not calling your dog fat, but the odds are that one in two dogs (1 in 2!) is overweight. That means statistically either your dog is fat or mine is.
There’s something called the “fat pet gap” says Dr. Ernie Ward, founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.
What he means is that while more dogs are fatter, less owners think their dog is fat. Fat pet gap in action. In the U.S. we tend to love our pets to death. We equate love with eating. Unfortunately, we’re killing our dogs this way.
My Labrador retriever, Tango, has a bum elbow. We’ve known it since he was about a year old and it’s the reason he was released from his career in service work. For older dogs, or any dog with arthritis, it’s crucial to keep their weight at normal. Not a little bit above normal — NORMAL! We actually strive to keep Tango on the lighter side of normal, as opposed to the heavier side.
What does a normal weight dog look like?
Normal dogs should have a waist. You know, that thing that’s between their ribs and their hips. Too many dogs don’t have one. There should be a nicely defined “hour glass figure” so you can see the indent where their ribcage ends.
How can you help your dog lose weight?
First, have your dog checked by your veterinarian. Ask the veterinarian specifically about your dog’s weight. Some veterinarians may be reluctant to speak up about your dog’s weight for fear of offending you. Be sure to ask “Should my dog lose any weight?”
Next, measure your dog’s food. Get an extra set of measuring cups dedicated to your dog’s food. If your dog should be eating 1/2 cup of food, give them exactly 1/2 cup. Not a rounded 1/2 cup. You should be able to run your finger across the measuring cup and no food should fall out.
Also, cut back on the leftovers and snacks. We used to let our dogs eat the left overs that weren’t going to make it back to the plate, rather than put the food in the disposal.
Lastly, add some vegetables and fruit to your dog’s meals if you just can’t stand to give your dog such a tiny amount of food. Remember: that “tiny” amount is normal, you’re just used to overfeeding your dog. But if it makes you feel better, add some chopped apples or carrots or green beans to your dog’s bowl. Avoid these poisonous foods, of course.
Talk back: have you successfully gotten your dog to a healthy, normal weight? How’d you do it?
Please leave a comment to let me know!