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Ugh — who wants to read more about weight loss, keeping weight off, what to eat, what not to eat? As painful as it is to you, it’s even more painful for pooches who carry unnecessary extra pounds. The following indicators mean it’s time to turn your pup from fat and frumpy to phat and fabulous.
Someone asks when your dog will deliver her puppies
Ouch! If your dog could understand language and conversation on that level, he (or she) would dig a deep, deep hole and crawl in it of shame. With a bone. Covered in meat. Whether male or female, if your dog looks ready to pop, it’s beyond time to finesse the feeding and exercise regimen. However, just as you would do for yourself, schedule a vet visit prior to reducing calories and increasing movement to ensure weight loss happens safely.
Exercise? I thought you said “extra fries.
Hopefully you’re not feeding your dog french fries — or overdoing any treating. Falling into the habit of equating treating with love is one you must break for your doggo’s long-term health. Love is love. Treats are calories. Treats, used for training, positive reinforcement and once-in-a-while indulgences, may not necessarily be associated with an increased risk of obesity as long as they comprise less than 10% of total caloric intake.
Your dog doesn’t need a floatie in the pool
If your boy floats like a buoy in water, that may indicate he’s due for a diet. Swimming is a great way for anyone, including dogs, to shed pounds and get fit. However, not all dogs love water or are natural swimmers. Ease your pup into the shallows with patience if he’s not a hydrophile, secure a doggie life vest and always keep an eye on him. Same goes for dogs who make leaps and bounds for the pool or the waves.
There’s no Santa audition today!
Roly-poly and extra jolly is a must in any Santa — but not your dog (except the jolly part). Extra fat around your dog’s abdomen, hips and neck are telltale signs that he would look great in a St. Nick suit. Once extra fat weighs down his abdomen, hips and neck, he probably is obese, putting him at higher risk of developing many health issues, including diabetes, arthritis, cancer and more. Now is the time to hitch your furry Santa to the sleigh for some exercise, so to speak.
Ribs? What ribs?
Place your hands along the sides of your pet’s chest. If you can’t feel his ribs, it’s diet and exercise time. If your dog is in ideal body condition, you can feel his ribs but not see them. Your dog’s stomach should tuck upward toward his tail from his chest — it should never be level with it and definitely not below. Potbellied pig is not the look you’re going for!
Watching your dog ascend stairs is painful
Don’t let your doggo struggle unnecessarily. Help close what the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention calls the “fat pet gap,” or, in other words, your failure to notice or acknowledge your companion packing on pounds over time, by building in regular exercise for your pup — something you both enjoy to help ensure long-term follow-through.
Your dog is a perfect oval
Oval is beautiful if you’re talking watermelon or gemstones, but not your dog. If she is shaped like an oval rather than fit-and-sassy hourglass, she’s Rubenesque, to put it kindly. Get a “high-level view” by standing above your pet and looking down at her. She should have somewhat of an hourglass shape, with a taper at the waist, which is between the abdomen and the hips. If there is little or no taper, she is probably overweight.
Your dog looks at his food dish then looks at you like “What … that’s it?!”
Obviously, what you feed your dog matters, but portion sizes matter as well. Studies show that dogs who eat a set of small meals per day (rather than one large feast) are less likely to be overweight or obese. Helpful hint: Use a measuring cup to ensure you are not overfeeding, and don’t free feed.