Spring Into Action: Get Your Dog in Shape

get your dog in shape

With spring on the way, it’s time to get your dog in shape.

Just like their human counterparts, dogs need to stay healthy. Since they can’t fix their own meals or hit the gym, it’s up to humans to help them eat well and exercise.

Unfortunately, this is a struggle for most pet owners.

According to PetMD, “Up to 65% of dogs in the United States are considered overweight or obese.” Dogs are considered overweight if they weigh 10% more than their ideal weight. They are considered obese if they weigh 20% more than their ideal weight.

Many dog owners don’t even realize their dogs are overweight.

Dr. Ernie Ward, DVM, CVFT, and founder of the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP) told the American Kennel Club, “I see people coming in constantly with 90-pound Labs and they say, ‘she looks great.’ Well, actually, that dog is 15 pounds overweight. But we’ve normalized it.”

Not sure if your dog is overweight? Check out The Goody Pet’s Weight Chart to see where your dog falls.

Can you feel your dogs’ ribs? Can you see your dog’s waist? Does your dog have an hourglass like shape when you look from above?

If you answered no to these questions, it is likely your dog is overweight and possibly obese.

Why is it so important to get your dog in shape if he is overweight? Weight gain is the biggest health threat to dogs!

Wag explains, “Obesity is associated with decreased life span, decreased mobility, diabetes, hypothyroidism, osteoarthritis, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, difficulty breathing, difficulty grooming, increased risk of hyperthermia and increased risk of cancer.”

Plus, it leads to increased veterinarian bills!

The good news is that, just like us, dogs can lose weight by making some healthy lifestyle changes – they just need your help.

Get Your Dog in Shape with These 7 Tips

With spring and warmer temperatures just around the corner, it will be easier to help your dog lose weight with exercise. But that is not the only way to get your dog in shape. Use the following tips to get started today.

  1. Consult Your Veterinarian

If you suspect your dog is overweight, it is important to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian. Your dog may have gained weight due to health conditions, such as hyperthyroidism, and your vet will need to rule these out.

Plus, your vet will know the best diet plan for your dog. He will recommend the right type of food and the correct portion sizes based on age, size, and breed.

  1. Feed Your Dog the Right Amount

Have you ever noticed the difference in the sizes of dog feeding bowls? There is not one set size. If you just buy a dog bowl and fill the bowl with dog food, you may be feeding your dog significantly more than she needs. For example, a cockapoo does not need as much food as a labrador retriever, but if they have the same size dog bowl, it may mislead dog owners.

Instead, use your veterinarian’s recommendations. It is helpful to use a plastic measuring cup to make sure you are giving your dog the right-sized portions.

  1. Switch Dog Foods

Some dog foods are healthier than others. If your dog is overweight, your veterinarian will likely recommend switching to low-fat, low-carb dog food. There are many available at local pet stores.

  1. Implement an Exercise Routine

One of the best ways to get your dog in shape is to get your dog up and moving! Dogs need to get at least 30 minutes of exercise each day. If you don’t take your dog on a daily walk, now is the time to start. In addition to taking walks, play games with your dog that encourage physical activity, such as fetch.

Be sure to also check out 15 Fun Ways to Exercise with Your Dog!

  1. Put Your Dog on a Feeding Schedule

Don’t allow your dog to free feed. Instead, start feeding your dog at the same time every day, feeding him only once or twice a day.

If dogs follow

If dogs follow a feeding schedule, it is easier to lose weight and maintain weight loss. It also helps you know how much they are eating.

  1. Moderate Treats

During the pandemic, my dog thrived. She had all her people, including her little people, around all the time. My children feed her way too many treats. Post-pandemic we are still trying to get our dog in shape.

Learn from our mistake. Moderate treats.

  1. Reward with Fun

While treats are great for training, too many leads to weight gain. See number six. Instead of always rewarding with food, reward good behavior with fun. Fun for dogs is everything from praise to belly rubs to throwing the ball to going on a walk.

While we can’t help get your dog in shape, we can help get your yard in shape! Sign up for regular poop scooping to get your yard ready for spring and summer.