Keeping Your Dog's Weight in Check
Keeping Your Dog's Weight in Check

Keeping Your Dog's Weight in Check

By now we all know obesity is unhealthy—for both people and pets. But do you know just how many health problems it can cause for your dog? Diabetes, bone and joint damage, decreased liver function, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and a heightened risk of cancer are just a few of the serious health issues caused by obesity. That’s a scary list. Protect your pooch by taking a proactive approach to keeping the pounds off. Here are some ways to do it.



Avoid Self-Feeding

Dogs do better with a controlled amount of food on a schedule. While some dogs can handle eating from an always-full and ever-present dog bowl, most will overeat if food is always available.



Make Smart Choices

There are lots of dog foods out there, all offering something different. When it comes to keeping obesity in check, IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control and IAMS Healthy Naturals™ Weight Management with Chicken formulas are great choices.



Resist Sharing Table Scraps

Your dog’s your pal, so it’s difficult not to share your tasty bacon or a bite of steak with him when he gives you those big, pleading eyes. But trust us—it’s worth it to resist. Feeding Fido “people food” ups his food and fat intake significantly. Plus, it creates bad habits: A dog that’s not fed from the table won’t learn to beg.




Obviously, a great way to keep your dog trim and fit is with some good exercise sessions. When you don’t have a lot of time, do short sessions of fetch or tug-of-war. Take it to the next level by jogging with your dog, tossing the Frisbee®, or starting agility training. And here’s a bonus: A dog that gets enough exercise is less likely to act out.



Tally Up the Treats

Of course you want to reward your dog when he’s good—but don’t forget that those treats can add up. Pay attention to the calorie and fat content of the treats you give. More importantly, take note of how many goodies you’re doling out—and how often.



Check for Bigger Problems

Most of the time, a dog is overweight because he’s taking in more calories than he’s burning. But it is possible that there is a larger problem at work. If you’ve tried maintaining your dog’s diet and increasing exercise and still aren’t seeing results, talk to your veterinarian about a possible thyroid or other metabolic disorder.

Don’t get discouraged if you slip up every once in a while or don’t see results right away. Battling obesity is done day to day—it’s about forming good habits and being disciplined. By following the tips above and showing a little dedication, you’ll be on your way to having a healthier, happier dog.

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

    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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