According to CBS News, more than half of all canine pets in the U.S. are overweight or obese. It’s a sad fact that dogs are gaining too many pounds these days from calorie-laden snacks and treats, causing problems to their digestive health and immune system among a slew of other complications. What’s worse, owners are often unaware of the actual reasons for the obesity and don’t realize they’re the ones responsible for it in the first place.

Factors that influence whether or not a dog is or will become overweight

Food

Clearly the front runner for dog obesity, the amount of food you give your dog is often the strongest predictor of how heavy they’ll become. Too much food will leave your dog bloated and pudgy. Assess your dog’s weight and compare it to the ideal weight for your dog’s breed and size. You’ll discover if you’re giving your dog too much or too little so you can adapt portion size accordingly.

The wrong kind of foods also adds to the growing obesity problem. Feeding your dog chow loaded with corn and wheat gluten, meat by-products, dyes and fats diminishes the quality of the food and, in turn, the health of your pet. You want to find food low in fats and carbs, but rich in protein along with vitamins and minerals such as iron and calcium. Fortunately, a sufficient diet can increase your dog’s life expectancy by 2 years. All it takes is just a simple alteration of a dog’s diet to help them lose weight and get in shape.

Exercise

Besides diet, exercise is the second biggest reason your pet is likely hefting a few more pounds around his waist. Just like us, dogs need to run, play and burn off calories. Neglecting to take your dog outside for a daily walk or run can leave them sluggish. They need a balance of food and exercise to maintain their target weight. Not unlike us who workout every day to keep ourselves healthy and fit. Shoot for at least 20-30 minutes of activity a day so your dog can shed any excess weight.

Genetics

You may not realize it but there are particular breeds that are more prone to obesity than others. That means you as an owner must be especially cautious about your dog’s intake when caring for them. Many smaller breeds tend to gain weight, including beagles, spaniels and dachshunds. However larger breeds such as Labrador retrievers and Shetland sheepdogs are also known for larger waist sizes. You may not be able to prevent the breed of your dog, but you can prevent them from gaining too much by controlling their portions.

homemade diet

Solution: Try Homemade

study taken by University of California, Davis, School of Veterinary Medicine found that out of over 200 dog food recipes only nine had all essential nutrients in sufficient quantities. This means that even the most health-conscious dog owners aren’t likely giving their pets the vitamins and minerals they need for good health.

By creating your own food for your dog, you can decrease the amount of fats and carbs added to dog food that cause obesity as well as increase the necessary nutrients they need for proper growth. The right dog diet should have lots of protein since it forms the building blocks of muscles and tissues and is one of the more satiating nutrients. In addition, it should contain healthy fats, carbs, vitamins and minerals, just like any human meal. Fish, eggs, dairy, grains, and vegetables are all great choices to add your doggy’s dish.

Weight Loss Diet Meal

This recipe is from organic-pet-digest.com.

Ingredients

  • 4 cups cooked veggies, carrots, peas, green beans, corn
  • 1 cup oat or wheat bran
  • 2 cups rolled oats
  • 2 cup cottage cheese, uncreamed
  • 1/2 pound ground or chunked turkey, chicken or beef
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons Animal Essentials Calcium
  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons nutritional yeast
  • balanced dog vitamins

Instructions

  1. Cook the veggies, using 3 to 4 cups of water.

  2. When they are soft, add the bran and oats. Cover and let sit for 10 minutes or until the oats are soft.

  3. Add remaining ingredients, except the vitamins.

  4. Refrigerate extras.

  5. When serving a meal portion, add a balanced dog vitamin that supplies the minimum daily standards as recommended on the label.

  6. Decide what your dog's ideal weight should be and feed 2 meals per day based on the serving size per weight indicated in the table above.

When it comes to your pet, you only want the best. And the best may just be what you can make at home. So if you’re dog is experiencing weight problems, ditch the store-brand variety and try a homemade recipe instead. Your dog will thank you!

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