Losing weight can improve your dog’s overall health in a variety of ways. He’ll be less prone to heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, as well as arthritis.
If your dog is overweight and already suffering with arthritis then it’s time to help them take off those extra pounds. Extra weight puts additional pressure on joints and can cause pain as well as joint damage. This can cause some types of arthritis and increase the intensity of other types.
Obesity can cause inflammation in your dog. This also increases his chances of developing arthritis and other health problems.
Though reducing your dog’s weight won’t reverse arthritis, it can slow the progress of the disease and reduce the pain and discomfort your dog feels.
The first thing you need to do is talk to your vet. Find out what is the optimal weight for your dog with his build and age. The vet will want to run lab work to be sure your dog is not suffering from diabetes. A sudden change in diet could cause severe problems if your dog has health problems you’re not aware of.
Do not make changes too quickly. If you’ve been over feeding your dog then start by reducing by an ounce a day until you reach the level your vet has recommended. If you lower their amount of food suddenly their metabolism will slow making it hard for them to lose any weight. Changes should be gradual.
Sadly, most commercial dog foods are packed with cheap fillers including lots of grains and corns. This is one reason so many dogs are over-weight. They are eating foods that pack on the pounds but offer little nutritional value.
A Few Things to Look for When Buying Dog Food
Soft, canned food is often better for dogs than completely dry food. These are usually higher in protein and lower in carbs then dry foods.
Semi-soft foods often contain large amounts of chemicals and preservatives and should be avoided. Always read labels.
The food you choose should contain no grains, plant extracts, corn or carbs of any kind. Dogs are carnivores and do not need carbs. It should contain high-quality protein from meat.
You won’t be able to find these requirements in cheap, store brand dog food. But buying healthy, high quality food can save you money by keeping your dog healthier so you’ll have less vet bills in the long run.
Your vet can recommend a high quality dog food such as hundfoder or other brand of good raw food. I feed me dogs raw beef and chicken that i buy cheaply from the local butcher.
There are some dog foods made especially for senior dogs. These are usually high in fiber, lower in calories, and sometimes have added supplements such as omega 3 fatty acids and glucosamine.
Other Tips for Helping Your Dog Lose Weight
Set a schedule for feeding your dog; usually not more than once or twice a day for an adult dog. Do not leave food in his dish all day.
Give him small treats only at set times.
Do not feed your dog the kind of snacks you eat. Though he will stare at you with sad, pitiful eyes, it is not in his best interest to give in to his pleading.
Never feed your dog table scraps. Human food is usually highly seasoned and can cause your dog stomach issues. Also, it’s usually far too high in sugar, salt and fat and will cause weight gain.
Exercise is another important component of helping your dog lose weight. Even if your dog is suffering from arthritis it is important that he stays as active as possible. Taking short walks four or five times a week will help your dog maintain a healthy weight and stay as mobile as possible. Ask your vet for suggestions for a safe exercise routine.
Always keep fresh water where your dog has constant access. As the arthritis progresses you may need to put your dog’s water bowl on a stand. Leaning down to drink from a bowl on the floor may cause him pain in the neck and shoulders.
Set up a strict diet and stick to it for the health and happiness of your dog. Be careful what food you give your pet and opt for the best you can afford.