5 tips to help your pet lose weight and manage pain
Best ways to help your dog lose weight
Did you know that one of the best ways to help your pet avoid or reduce joint pain is to help them lose weight?
Extra weight on dogs is closely linked to arthritis, joint pain, and many other serious health issues. Weight loss and maintaining an ideal body condition are also important parts of a comprehensive recovery plan for pets who’ve had joint surgery.
Even if your pet hasn’t had surgery for joint pain, developmental orthopedic diseases such as elbow or hip dysplasia, or arthritis, keeping them at a healthy weight is one of the most important things you can do for your dog’s long-term health and happiness. Luckily, the first steps start at home. Here are a few quick tips to help your best friend slim down:
#1: Help your dog lose weight by adjusting their diet!
Most weight gain in pets is caused by a poor diet, lack of exercise, and too many high-calorie treats. Multiple studies have found that dogs experiencing joint pain have noticeable improvements in symptoms after losing weight. You can start by adjusting their diet!
Most store-bought pet foods are high in carbs and low in protein. Increasing the amount of good–quality protein and micronutrients in their diet has been shown to be a significant factor in weight loss for overweight pets.
According to research published in the U.S. National Library of Medicine, diets containing up to 48% high-quality protein, and up to 28% total dietary fiber, had the best results in reducing weight and preventing hunger in dogs. Talk to your veterinarian about diets that have been shown to help with weight loss. Our staff would be happy to discuss some options for your dog or set you up with nutritional therapy.
#2: Measure your pet’s food
One thing many dog owners do is let their dog eat from their food bowl all day long. But when your dog does this, you have no way of knowing how many calories they’re eating each day!
Make sure to measure the amount of food you’re giving your pet. Use a simple measuring cup and give them the same amount each time. Slowly reduce portion sizes over time until you reach a calorie count that allows your dog to lose weight gradually.
If you’re not sure how much to feed your dog, contact your veterinarian for specialized weight loss recommendations. They can help you determine how many calories your dog should be consuming daily based on their ideal body weight.
#3: Avoid unnecessary treats
Avoid excessive treats, table scraps, and leftovers. These all pack a lot of calories and are often high in fat and calories. Be sure to get the family involved on this one!
It won’t matter how good the food in their bowl is if your dog is getting under the table chicken scraps every day! If your dog always seems hungry, especially when you start reducing their calories, consider adding in some vegetables like carrots or green beans for extra fiber to fill them up.
#4: Use healthy treats to reduce begging
If your pup regularly begs for food, try replacing their regular treats with something healthy like baby carrots, broccoli, or green beans. Avoid giving out carbs even in small amounts!
You can also distract your dog from begging by taking them for a quick walk, playing with them, or throwing the ball for a few minutes.
#5: Give your pet regular exercise
This can be challenging if your pet is already experiencing joint pain, but regular, low-impact exercise is an important part of a well-rounded weight loss routine.
Slowly increasing the length and intensity of your walks will help them lose weight, but this also keeps their joints healthy and muscles strong.
If you continue to have trouble maintaining your pet’s weight, it might be time to include professional rehabilitation.
Research shows that dogs are far more likely to lose weight in a formal rehabilitation program that includes personalized nutrition recommendations and underwater treadmill therapy.
Give us a call at (206) 545-4322 to schedule an appointment with one of our certified rehabilitation team, and we’ll make sure you get a plan that’s best for you and your pet.
Posted February 10, 2020 by Animal Surgical in Joint pain management, Obesity, Pet Health with No Comments
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