My dog, Rowdy, has been a part of our family since I was 10 years old. He is like a brother — someone you would never expect to suddenly no longer be there.
As Rowdy got older, he became a bit pudgier, but it was “cute,” and added to the lovable nature of my pup, with whom I loved to snuggle on the couch after a long day.
I enjoyed the gooey rolls that seemed to complement the huggable nature of my childhood partner in crime, and I admit that at times I would reward his sweet cuddles with the occasional unnecessary treat.
As the years passed and the spring in Rowdy’s step seemed to lessen, I assumed it was simply because of his age, but when my veterinarian told me Rowdy needed to lose weight or I was going to lose him, I realized this meant business.
After several conversations with my vet and hours of research, I decided it would be best to share some advice, and perhaps lend a hand to the many who surely are going through the same thing.
Canine Obesity Is a Big Problem
Excess weight is a serious health problem for dogs, especially in the United States. About 40 percent of dogs in the country weigh more than the ideal weight for their breed, and it takes only 20 percent above that ideal weight for a dog to be classified as obese.
Obese dogs’ bodies go into decline. These pets will have a lower metabolism and possibly experience serious medical conditions.
Just as I did, you may have noticed your dog experiencing some difficulty performing regular daily activities, such as climbing stairs, playing with you or your children, or even doing something as simple as walking to and from the living room. An even more intimidating truth is that some effects of obesity in dogs are not as easy to recognize, such as difficulty breathing or regulating their body temperature in warmer weather.
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Of course you care about the health and longevity of your companion, but helping him or her get rid of those extra huggable pounds can be a definite challenge. It’s difficult enough for us humans to maintain the discipline to make diet and exercise a consistent part of your dogs’ routine, so this can be especially difficult when it comes to restricting your fur-baby to fewer treats and more walks.
A Veterinary Consult May Be in Order
Sometimes proper diet and exercise may not be enough to make the difference your dog needs to be healthy again. In many cases, the most productive and beneficial option is to seek veterinary attention, as I did. Speaking with an expert in canine health and weight management can mean years added to your dog’s life.
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With the help of a compassionate veterinarian or nutrition specialist, you can learn exactly what is best for your dog. How much food should your dog eat? What kind of exercise does your dog need? How can you help your dog stay fit? I am so glad I was able to get Rowdy the attention he needed before I cost myself precious time with him.
If you think your dog may need expert attention regarding diet and lifestyle, visit a veterinarian to get the best care for your best friend.
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This featured contribution was written by Emma, who blogs on behalf of Legacy Vet Clinic, in Frisco, Texas.