Pet obesity and health concerns are at an all-time high. 55.8% of dogs in the United States are considered obese.
This can decrease their life expectancy by two and a half years at minimum. When our dogs only live thirteen to ﬁfteen years maximum, that number is startling.
Obesity can cause similar health concerns in pets as in humans; diabetes, joint and muscle pain, spinal issues, liver and kidney function issues, decreased cardiac health, and many more. Now that we know obesity is an issue, how can you as an owner help your pup live his or her best life?
“Having a healthy and active lifestyle is as important for our pets as it is for us. Pet nutrition and health is often overlooked because our furry friends are not capable of verbally communicating how they feel from day to day. We as owners make all oftheir choices for them, and as a pet professional and dog trainer I take that responsibility very seriously. My goal with every client or person I meet is to effectively communicate to individuals about how we can improve their dog’s lives. Not only does this improve their day to day, but also the longevity of their lives and quality of that time with us.”
Pet nutrition is a core foundation to preventing obesity and fueling your furry partner in their daily activities. Sourcing a high quality kibble or providing an all natural raw diet is the best way to do this. Higher quality kibbles are available to ﬁt any budget.
Some of my favorite cost effective kibbles are Victor (what I feed my personal dogs), 4 health by Tractor Supply, Kirkland by Costco, and Country Vet Naturals. There are many more costly brands that are also excellent choices for your dogs. If you are capable of providing a raw food diet for your dog, this is deﬁnitely the best option.
There are many online sources and Facebook groups that can provide support for those venturing into this for the ﬁrst time. Raw food diets have many beneﬁts including smaller stools that biodegrade faster, clearing up various allergies and yeast issues, more effective weight management, diabetic prevention (carb free feeding without other ﬁllers), and many more.
If you are interested in pursuing this change for your pets, please do your research and make sure you balance their meals with properly proportioned bone, organ, and muscle. Here in North Texas there is a balanced raw source called Texas Tripe available as well.
Another important part of providing a healthy lifestyle for your dog is adequate exercise. Exercise provides an outlet of energy for your dog and can be faster and easier to access than you think. Walks are an excellent source of exercise and they can also provide mental stimulation as well. A ﬁfteen minute walk three to ﬁve times per week is an awesome opportunity to work on loose leash skills as well as your sit and down behaviors.
Training during a walk works their body and their brain and can help to prevent unwanted behaviors such as chewing and barking. Playing fetch and tug with toys is also an excellent way to provide interactive exercise both mentally and physically.
If your pup is motivated by toys, utilizing those times to work on their sit, down and stay is an amazing proactive activity. Exercise can be more than physical, and mental gymnastics are so important for our pups who spend hours a day at home. If you struggle to work in adequate exercise try using a ﬂirt pole, it is a quick way to burn a lot of energy in a short amount of time.
Getting outside and doing more with them is, in my opinion, the best way to build upon your relationship. For those who struggle maintaining adequate exercise due to work schedules, check out your local dog walkers and doggy daycares. We have some many sources available at our ﬁngertips, and we owe it to our best buddies to do the best we can.
“I hope you ﬁnd this article encouraging. Our canine companions provide us with so much joy, and returning that joy is the greatest gift we can give them. With longer lives that are lived pain free and to the fullest provide us with more time to enjoy the days with our best furry friends.”
Learn more abut Sydnie and her services at Mutts Be Fantastic