How is the pandemic affecting your dog's weight?
« Oh, he really loves cheese. »
« No he’s not fat. He was made like that. »
« That’s normal with age. »
You can come up with all kinds of excuses, but the truth is, your dog is at risk of developing health problems if you keep giving in to its pleading eyes.
Since covid-19 has kept us confined at home – much to the delight of all those puppies that have been lonely for so long – we’ve allowed things to slip. We overindulge in giving them treats, for no reason, just to make them happy, because we love them.
A recent American survey reveals that eating habits have changed since the pandemic and that pets have become increasingly overweight. We also learn that pet owners are surprised, even on the defensive when their vet informs them that their little baby has weight problems. However, this largely-ignored issue has serious consequences for your animal’s health.
Obesity in dogs not only undermines their quality of life, but also leads to many diseases such as diabetes, urinary problems, high blood pressure, heart disease, and osteoarthritis.
Here are some golden rules to help dogs maintain a healthy weight.
Calculate the calorie intake
It’s not impossible, but it’s difficult to make a dog lose weight. That’s why it’s best to avoid gaining those extra pounds in the first place. The rule is simple: your pet is overweight when it ingests more calories than it expends. A dog’s caloric needs are established according to its age, lifestyle and state of health. It’s therefore important to measure the caloric intake of its meals, taking into account supplements and treats (calculate everything!), while avoiding giving in to its gentle manipulations.
Do you find it difficult to resist feeling pity because Fido didn’t get half a piece of toast? Do you find it difficult to resist feeling pity because Fido didn’t get half a piece of toast? Do you really want to please him that much? Then go outside and play with him! It will help him burn calories and forget his cravings for cheese and, above all, you will make him very happy. Dogs tend to eat more when they are bored. It sounds a little like us, eh? It is vital to get them moving every day. You can also teach them tricks; they’ll be happy to impress you, it will strengthen your bond and... they will burn calories.
No more table scraps
It’s well known that you shouldn’t feed your dog off your plate. Table scraps are often too rich, unsuitable and in some cases fatal, so toss them into the compost bin and not into the bowl. And yet, this practice is still widespread. Dogs adapt: you’re the one who helped it develop this habit, but you can also help it break it – which is actually recommended. In a few weeks, it will understand that its place isn’t under your feet (or sitting on your lap) when you’re eating at the table.
Healthy treats that make your dog happy
Treats don’t have to be banned, but should be integrated in an intelligent manner. Dogs can eat a variety of fruits and vegetables low in calories and rich in nutrients. You can also opt for dietary supplements, such as Green Paws, which provide many benefits for your pet's health. In addition to making it happy, you’ll keep it healthy. The important thing is to limit calorie intake beyond its normal diet to 10%.