Allowing senior dog become overweight can reduce its lifespan drastically. Dogs that are overweight are more prone to illnesses, like heart disease, diabetes, cancer, and other incapacitating problems. By carrying much weight on its body, a dog that is overweight will also be adding extra pain on its joints and backs, which can result in arthritis. If your senior dog is overweight, it’s in your interest and your dog’s best interest to have it slimmed down right away.
1. Visit the Vet
When you notice an increase in your senior dog’s weight the first thing to do is to visit your veterinarian. The vet will run a number of blood tests to confirm if there is a low thyroid level, which frequently causes excess weight. Once that is ruled out, the vet may recommend that you swap to a low-calorie, high-fiber senior dog food formula or even a prescribed diet plan.
2. Reward your Senior Dogs with Fun Instead Of Food
Most senior pet owners teach their dogs by rewarding them with meals. However, in case you are always giving your aging dog treat, then he or she may be gaining excessive calories daily. That is the reason it is best to give your old pet non-food rewards, like a belly rub or fetching game. Minimizing the amount of treats you give your aging pet is an easy way to cut calorie consumption.
3. Modify Their Diet
95% of most overweight senior pets will need modifications to their eating habits. The number of calories you should feed your pet is determined by their age, metabolic rate, activity levels and present weight. If your senior pet is suffering from a disease/disorder, their dietary requirements will be quite different. Rather than just following the feeding instructions on food packaging, consult your veterinarian about setting up a diet plan. Low carbohydrate, high protein foods are a usually a good choice.
4. Slow and steady trims the waist
It’s a known fact that weight gain doesn’t occur suddenly, and neither does weight reduction. It can take up to six months for a dog to reach an ideal weight again, and one must be careful to ensure your senior dog retain the ideal weight.
5. Weigh your senior dog frequently
Pay attention to your senior dog’s weight loss as you make adjustments. The goal is for your senior dog to shed approximately 1% of her excess body weight weekly until she gets to her perfect body weight.
6. Understand feeding suggestions
Don’t just think the feeding guidelines on the packaging of your aging dog’s food formula apply to every dog. If your senior dog is weighing too much and you’re not overfeeding with treats or other food, gently reduce the quantity of dog food your old pet gets daily. Also, as dogs grow older and slow down, they are likely to gain a couple of pounds so you will have to reduce slightly on the amount you feed, to have them at a normal weight.
7. Increase exercise
A little increase in exercise can make a significant difference. Make your daily walk with your senior dog a little longer or integrate more play time into your daily activities. Just like with your senior dog’s diet, you’ll need to make gradual adjustments so you don’t overwork your aging dog, especially if she’s extremely overweight or shapeless.
8. Manage your dog’s hunger
Your old pet might be a bit hungry when she’s shedding pounds. If you usually feed once per day, try splitting the meal into two or three feedings for the whole day. You can even reserve some portion of your dog’s daily food to use in a treat dispensing later in the day. Canned pumpkin and green beans are popular low-calorie fillers for dieting dogs, but your senior dog will really appreciate a variety of vegetables.
9. Watch out for saboteurs
Ensure that all members of the family are supportive in your goal to make your aging dog healthier. If some family members are sneaking bites of food to the dog, those little bites can add to a lot of calories. Also, be sure that your dog’s not sabotaging her own diet by sneaking food from other places, like the cat’s food.
10. Healthy Dog Treats
There is no need to totally wipe out treats from old pet’s diet. However, you need to be aware of the kind of treats that you are giving your senior pet. It is advisable to feed your senior dog organic dog treat biscuits that are low in calories and sugar-free. Cucumbers, celery, baby carrots and sliced apples are healthier substitutes to the processed treats you see in most of the stores.
It’s the obligation of each and every one to help our senior pet in maintaining a healthy weight. Just as you’d hardly walk your dog without a collar and leash or let them eat only ice cream and pizza (which many dogs would LOVE), it’s up to senior dog owners to feed nutritious, healthy meals and treats and also exercise daily. By using these ten easy ways, you’ll be on your path to your senior pet’s best and healthiest year.