Your dog’s health is dependent on a number of factors, including their weight. It is without a doubt one of the most vital to keep constantly in mind as a dog owner, given that overweight dogs are far more likely to develop a range of illnesses. However, many dog owners mistakenly take a reactive, rather than proactive, approach to their dog’s weight. They address the problem after it occurs, instead of taking steps to prevent it in the first place.
If your dog is currently a healthy weight, you should take every opportunity to ensure they maintain it. Not only will doing so help your dog to lead a longer and healthier life, it will also save you both the trouble down the road trying to reel their weight back in. If you’re looking for some practical tips to maintain your dog’s weight, take stock of our 5 expert tips below.
1. Develop Good Exercise Habits Early
Helping your dog to develop healthy habits requires you to start as early as possible; ideally from when they’re a young pup. Angela Stringfellow from Pup Life Today says that this is particularly true when it comes to exercise, which is one of the most effective ways to maintain your dog’s weight.
“Dog owners who bestow a love of exercise to their puppies from a young age will find it far easier to maintain it even as the years tick on,” she says. “Dog’s are very perceptive, so try to show your dog that exercise is something fun to look forward to.”
This means not bemoaning the fact that you need to take your dog for a walk every day, or shooing your dog away every time they try to start a game of catch. Instead, show excitement at the prospect of each exercise session and your dog will be sure to always follow suit.
2. Make Use of Your Yard (Without the Stress!)
Speaking of exercise, if you’re fortunate enough to have a yard, you’ll know how nice it can be to let your dog exercise from the convenience of your own home. There are so many ideas you can test out to make exercise in your yard fun, from ball games to obstacle courses.
However, exercise time in the yard can also prove to be stressful if they keep trying to escape. It may even start to make you avoid letting them if they take each time as an opportunity to run away.
If you’re tired of this happening, we suggest putting up a dog fence in your yard. There are a variety of fences to choose from to suit your particular needs as well as those of your dog, so be sure to take a look at the range of options available to find one that ticks all the boxes.
3. Feed Your Dog the Right Foods
Along with exercise, the food you choose to give your dog will have the most sizable impact on their weight. Giving your dog the right foods will help give them the nutritional support they need to maintain a healthy weight. The problem is that there isn’t a one-size-fits-all method of picking the right foods.
Your dog’s health needs are unique, so their food needs to perfectly match them. The best way of determining what these needs are is to consult your vet. They will be able to give you expert advice about which foods will simultaneously boost their health and support them to maintain a healthy weight.
For example, dogs with sensitive stomachs may benefit more from nutritious high fiber dog food while dogs suffering from arthritis may find arthritis-fighting foods like wild-caught salmon helpful.
4. Don’t Overfeed Them
A dog with a healthy appetite is a sign that your dog is in good health. But this makes it difficult to pinpoint how much food is ideal to give them. It’s tempting to give your dog more than the recommended amount of food for their size and weight if they’re always eager to eat more. After all, it’s hard to resist the way their eyes light up when you give them an extra scoop or a dollop more.
The thing is, you could be inadvertently overfeeding them. Needless to say, this is a big no-no for their waistline. If the pounds are starting to creep on your dog, this could be a good sign that it’s time to stop treating them to seconds.
5. Ask Your Vet for Guidance
Last but not least, if you’re serious about maintaining your dog’s weight, you should seek expert advice from your vet. While the general tips we’ve outlined above are certainly useful to keep in mind, only a vet can provide you with more specific weight management advice that is tailored to your dog.
Of course, a trip to the vet can be costly. However, it is considerably more affordable to learn now how to keep your dog’s weight on the right track than to deal with (and pay for!) the multitude of health problems that can result from excess weight gain.
Melanie Green is a writer for Pet Life Today. She has more than 8 years of experience as an educator for AZA accredited facilities, including Tampa’s Lowry Park Zoo and the Florida Aquarium. She’s passionate about pet safety, holistic pet health, and trying out new products. She has been writing professionally since 2009. She has a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing from National University and a Bachelor of Arts in Writing from the University of Tampa. She lives in Tampa, Florida with her three dogs, husband, and son.