Keeping Your Dog's Weight in Check

By now we all know obesity is unhealthy—for both people and pets. But do you know just how many health problems it can cause for your dog? Diabetes, bone and joint damage, decreased liver function, heart disease, increased blood pressure, and a heightened risk of cancer are just a few of the serious health issues caused by obesity. That’s a scary list. Protect your pooch by taking a proactive approach to keeping the pounds off. Here are some ways to do it.

Avoid Self-Feeding

Dogs do better with a controlled amount of food on a schedule. While some dogs can handle eating from an always-full and ever-present dog bowl, most will overeat if food is always available.


Make Smart Choices

There are lots of dog foods out there, all offering something different. When it comes to keeping obesity in check, IAMS® ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control and IAMS Healthy Naturals™ Weight Management with Chicken formulas are great choices.


Resist Sharing Table Scraps

Your dog’s your pal, so it’s difficult not to share your tasty bacon or a bite of steak with him when he gives you those big, pleading eyes. But trust us—it’s worth it to resist. Feeding Fido “people food” ups his food and fat intake significantly. Plus, it creates bad habits: A dog that’s not fed from the table won’t learn to beg.


Exercise

Obviously, a great way to keep your dog trim and fit is with some good exercise sessions. When you don’t have a lot of time, do short sessions of fetch or tug-of-war. Take it to the next level by jogging with your dog, tossing the Frisbee®, or starting agility training. And here’s a bonus: A dog that gets enough exercise is less likely to act out.


Tally Up the Treats

Of course you want to reward your dog when he’s good—but don’t forget that those treats can add up. Pay attention to the calorie and fat content of the treats you give. More importantly, take note of how many goodies you’re doling out—and how often.


Check for Bigger Problems

Most of the time, a dog is overweight because he’s taking in more calories than he’s burning. But it is possible that there is a larger problem at work. If you’ve tried maintaining your dog’s diet and increasing exercise and still aren’t seeing results, talk to your veterinarian about a possible thyroid or other metabolic disorder.

Don’t get discouraged if you slip up every once in a while or don’t see results right away. Battling obesity is done day to day—it’s about forming good habits and being disciplined. By following the tips above and showing a little dedication, you’ll be on your way to having a healthier, happier dog.