Obesity is a common health problem for most domestic pets. A plump dog may look cute, but when it comes to canine health, lean is always better. Excess weight may lead to various health disorders including:
- Constipation dermatitis
- Cardio-respiratory problems
- Diabetes mellitus
- Anesthetic risk
- Reduced life expectancy
The most effective approach to keep your pup’s weight under control is by restricting calories and proper training. A training exercise is just as crucial as providing meals comprising balanced, high quality dog food. With the serious health consequences of obesity, you should protect your furry friend as soon as possible with early dog training.
Here’s how proper training can help your pooch improve his health, agility, and maintain a suitable weight for his age, breed, and size.
Increase physical activity
Training increases your dog’s level of physical activity. It allows your pooch to have the right amount of exercise to maintain a healthy weight. In most cases, a canine usually gains weight because he eats more calories than what he burns.
Simple exercises such as walking short distances, playing fetch, swimming or climbing stairs are all excellent training for weight loss. The goal is to allow your pooch to exercise daily based on his needs.
- If your dog is overweight, try to institute an exercise plan where he runs or walks a little more every day. This will help your pooch increase the number of calories he burns gradually.
- If your dog is excessively energetic, you may have to exercise him longer to wear him out.
Avoid a sedentary lifestyle
With proper training, your dog can have an active routine instead of staying indoors and sleeping all day. Having an active lifestyle helps in burning off excess fats and is the key to preventing the onset of obesity.
If your furry pal seems overly attached to his pet bed, i.e. he spends most hours lazing around and/or sleeping, encourage him to play by coaxing him with fun dog toys and treats.
Training is all about discipline for both dog and pet owner. This means you resist the temptation of feeding your dog any table scraps or food high in sugar or fats. At the same time, this teaches your dog to avoid begging because it won’t earn him treats that are rich in calories.
If you’re the type of pet parent who can’t resist those cute, puppy dog eyes, you can opt to give treats that are low in fat. Examples of these include:
- Commercial low-calorie treats
- Cooked green beans
- Air-popped popcorn that is non-buttered and unsalted
- Baked or frozen canned diet food
When training your dog, make sure that the rewards you give through treats will not make up more than 10% of his daily intake. Consider new toys and fun exercises as substitutes for treats. If your pet is still a young pup who can’t seem to control his food intake, consider feeding him inside a pet playpen so that he won’t accidentally consume food scraps.
Maintain weight loss
If your beloved pooch was once obese, the last thing you’d want is for him to regain it. Proper training ensures that this doesn’t happen again with constant exercise. Keep in mind that it’s crucial to continue the exercise even after the weight is lost or your dog will start to accumulate pounds again.
Don’t forget to consult with a veterinarian
Prior to a training program, any canine with a health problem should be checked by a veterinarian. There are certain medical conditions which can cause obesity in dogs. The vet will be able to determine whether there’s an underlying reason for obesity or if there are any medical conditions present that can hinder weight loss goals.
Furthermore, the vet can help you identify an ideal weight goal and timeline before you begin a weight reduction program. It’s important that you understand how long the process will take as you wouldn’t want your dog to lose weight too fast. Rapid weight loss increases the possibility of the weight coming back after the weight reduction program is stopped.
Managing your dog’s weight can be quite challenging. But with the right training and discipline, you can help your beloved furry friend maintain an ideal weight, and live a longer, happier life.