We see many dogs at the Bark Market every week. It’s one of the many perks! We are committed to the WHOLE dog whether you are a training, grooming or shopping client. The first order of business with all clients is to address diet and nutrition. It relates to everything from overall health and wellness to behavior and hygiene. Frankly, too many pet parents are loving their dogs to ill health, with improper diet and/or overfeeding of food and treats. This can lead to canine obesity and ultimately serious health risks.
We recently met 2 lovely dogs, both were 10+ pounds overweight . Sadly the life expectancy and quality of life is not what it could be for these too delightful pooches. We had a frank discussion with the owners about how the dogs got to be so heavy and after a few minutes it became obvious. Free choice feeding of a premium kibble was the culprit. These dogs had a full bowl of food night and day and were not active. The heavier they became, the less active. A vicious cycle. The food choice was good but the feeding regimen created over eating and major weight gain. A few changes to how much and what they feed, should see weight loss fairly quickly and the health of these two improved dramatically.
Dogs and cats, are designed to eat then fast. They are designed to hunt for their meat meal as well, burning a lot of calories just to find every meal! It is so important to have some the proper knowledge and control when it comes to feeding our pets. This is something we have been helping pet owners with for 20 years and we take it seriously. Of all the roadblocks to wellness that our pets face, appropriate feeding is easily the most important and the one that has the most influence. As a pet parent YOU have complete control over what, when, where and how to feed. It is a responsibility that directly affects the health and longevity of your furry friends. It is easy to fall for the “he looks hungry” look and dive into the treat jar or put just a little more in the dish. I am guilty of this myself on occasion, as my dog has perfected that “look”!
Lack of exercise is also a common contributor . For those of you who like to walk your dogs, the conditions outdoors are less than ideal. Replace the walk with fetch, games and play in the house if possible. Practicing your obedience commands on leash can also help with burning off some energy. Signing up for a dog class is a great way to get out of the house and work your dog once a week. Kitties should be encouraged to hunt,climb and play too. Treat balls and puzzles are a great way for dogs and cats to work for their food and expend energy. Dogs and cats are 4 legged for a reason. They are designed to MOVE!
If you have an overweight pet, don’t despair! Today is a new day and positive changes can be made immediately. An accurate weight is critical for knowing how much to feed. We have a digital scale that will accommodate most dogs. We welcome you to come over for a “weigh in”! Check to see that you are feeding an appropriate amount for your pets age, breed and activity level. Most importantly, make sure you are feeding species appropriate food to your carnivorous ( meat eating) dogs and cats. If you haven’t changed the brand, type or flavor of food in 6 months or more now is a great time. There are many healthy options available in canned, raw, freeze dried raw and dry foods. Feed the highest quality you can afford, mix up the brands ,proteins and types of food fed ie; raw, freeze dried,canned, dry. Don’t be afraid to feed “people” food that is also healthy, fruits and veggies if your pets like them. Lets remember, its all “Food”, there should be no difference between human food and pet food. You may need to practice some tough love with your pleading/begging pet but you will be glad you did. The consequences of extra pounds can’t be over stated. Luckily obesity in our pets is 100% fixable and avoidable. We are ready to help you and your pet whether its a few pounds or more!
For more information on this epidemic read the article by Dr Karen Becker from Mercola healthy pets.
Pet Obesity:What are the Risks involved.