Is Your Pup Pack­ing on the Pounds?

Here are five steps to help your dog drop the weight!

Modern Dog - - CONTENTS - BY DR. JEN­NIFER ADOLPHE

Here are five steps to help your dog drop the weight!

Ask an Ex­pert: Jen­nifer Adolphe, a PhD in com­pan­ion an­i­mal nu­tri­tion, reg­is­tered di­eti­cian, and se­nior nutri­tion­ist at Petcurean, tells us how to ac­cu­rately as­sess a dog’s weight and of­fers 5 tips to help your pup drop the ex­tra pounds! We all want our dogs to be healthy, and manag­ing weight is an im­por­tant part of that. If dogs be­come over­weight, it puts them at greater risk of os­teoarthri­tis, res­pi­ra­tory prob­lems, and pan­cre­ati­tis. Keep­ing an eye on your dog’s weight is im­por­tant all year, but par­tic­u­larly dur­ing the hol­i­days when there’s a ten­dency to over-in­dulge. While short­bread, stuff­ing, and but­tered mashed pota­toes are ap­pro­pri­ate for hu­mans (in moder­a­tion), it’s best to keep them away from your dog. Stud­ies show that just a slight in­crease in weight can shave years off your dog’s life­span. How can you tell if your dog is pack­ing on the pounds? Look for a pro­por­tioned, slightly hour­glass body shape when viewed from above. You should see a slight tummy tuck and a thin cov­er­ing of body fat over the ribs and spine. When run­ning your hands along your dog’s body, you should be able to feel the ribs and hips with­out press­ing hard. If you’re not sure, you can use a body con­di­tion score chart. Find one here: mod­ern­dog­magazine.com/body­con­di­tion. If your dog needs to lose a few pounds, start with a vet visit. Your vet can weigh your dog, make sure there are no un­der­ly­ing health prob­lems, and ad­vise the ex­act amount of weight your dog should lose. 1 Ditch un­healthy dog treats Dog treats are a ma­jor cul­prit for ex­cess calo­ries. Some treats

are high in fat and con­tain ad­di­tives and un­healthy in­gre­di­ents Then fol­low these five easy steps to eas­ily lose the ex­tra weight: your dog doesn’t need. Re­place them with healthy fresh veg­gie treats, like car­rots or green beans. For a list of peo­ple foods your dog 2 can eat, turn to page 84. Find more time to play and ex­er­cise

Add an ex­tra block to your reg­u­lar walk­ing route and a few more min­utes of fetch. Make sure to in­crease the amount of 3 ac­tiv­ity slowly to avoid strain. Start weigh­ing your dog’s food

Weigh­ing is more ac­cu­rate and will help you avoid over-feed­ing. The feed­ing guide­lines on the pack­age are a good start­ing point to de­ter­mine the right amount for your dog, but may need to be ad­justed to en­sure your dog main­tains an op­ti­mal body weight. Even dogs with the same body weight can vary 4 greatly in their daily en­ergy re­quire­ments. Con­duct weekly weigh-ins

Us­ing your bath­room scale, weigh your­self, then pick up your dog and weigh again. Sub­tract the dif­fer­ence. A one to two per­cent loss per week is ideal; a more rapid de­cline can 5 be harm­ful. Mon­i­tor progress and stay on track

Ad­just the amount of food un­til a slow and steady weight loss is achieved. Con­tinue ad­just­ing food in­take and assess­ing body con­di­tion weekly un­til your dog reaches an ideal body weight. Once you’ve reached the op­ti­mal weight, make sure to main­tain the diet and ex­er­cise lev­els your dog needs to stay healthy. Don’t let old bad habits re­turn. By work­ing to­gether with your dog to help man­age his weight, you can en­sure warmth and com­pan­ion­ship for years to come!

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