How to Manage Your Dog's Weight
How to Manage Your Dog's Weight

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How to Manage Your Dog's Weight

Dogs Need Protein

Obesity is a common problem in dogs. Identifying the causes and following a total weight management program can result in controlled weight loss and maintenance. A total weight management program includes evaluating your dog, then modifying behaviors and successful dog weight control.

 

Definition of obesity

Obesity is defined as an increase in body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, resulting from an accumulation of excess body fat.

 

Causes of obesity

Obesity is caused when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure. This simply means that a dog eats more energy (calories) than he uses and stores the excess energy.

 

Factors contributing to obesity

  • Overfeeding
  • Inactivity
  • Breed
  • Age and Sex
  • Spay/neuter status
  • Diabetes mellitus
  • Hyperadrenocorticism
  • Hypothyroidism

 

 

Important Nutrients

Fat and carbohydrates
Dogs use fat as their primary energy source. An overweight dog stores fat more easily if the calories are consumed in the form of fat than if they are from carbohydrates. An overweight or obese dog should be fed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to restrict calories available from fat, which is important for dog weight control.

 

Fiber and fatty acids
A normal fiber level, provided in a moderately fermentable fiber source, helps create and maintain healthy digestion. This is especially important for the dog on a diet. Some weight-loss foods for dogs dilute calories with high levels of fiber. High-fiber foods may reduce the digestibility and absorption of many nutrients, including fat. These foods reduce weight by providing what would be considered poor-quality nutrition. These high-fiber diets also result in large, frequent stools and decreased skin and coat condition. Dog foods such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control, which provide essential fatty acids like those found in vitamin-rich fish oils, help maintain your dog's healthy skin and coat despite lowered fat levels.

 

Gradual Weight Loss

The goal of a good weight management program should be gradual weight loss. Dogs should lose 1% to 2% of their initial weight per week. This can be achieved by reducing the caloric intake by 30% to 50% of maintenance.
 

A total weight management program can lead to successful weight loss in the obese dog. Before beginning any weight-loss program with your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. Remember, your support is essential to your dog's weight-control success.

  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active

    It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health

    At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite

    Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

    Continue to use preventive medicines.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Dental Health

    Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Exercise

    Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Diet

    Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.

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