If the waist suddenly measures a few centimeters more than in the previous month, you should put a healthy dog on a diet and ensure more exercise.
Lean four-legged friends live longer
Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. If it were all about ideals of beauty, dog owners wouldn’t have to worry about the shape of their protégés. Unfortunately, being overweight is bad for your dog’s health. The extra pounds can cause joint damage, diabetes mellitus, and cardiovascular diseases. There is also a suspicion that four-legged buffalo are more prone to skin diseases and are more susceptible to infections. Overall, obesity is said to greatly reduce the life expectancy of dogs. Some scientists estimate that a fat dog lives about two years shorter than a fellow dog with a perfect body.
Muscles have weight too
But when is a dog actually too fat? The absolute weight says little about it. A muscular male Rottweiler can weigh 15kg more than a delicately built female of the same breed without being overweight.
Dogs with ideal figures show waists
Dogs with an ideal figure are on point four or five on the scale and have the following characteristics:
- When looking at the dog from the side, the abdominal line runs from the chest to the pelvis.
- When viewed from above, the area behind the ribs is slimmer than that of the thorax – a “waist” can be seen.
- If you run your palm over the chest, you can feel the ribs under a thin layer of fat.
Another disease as the cause?
However, not all dogs whose figure deviates from this ideal are overweight. In rare cases, the increase in body size can also result from the disease. Therefore, before starting the diet, you should have your dog examined by a veterinarian. You can then work out a diet and exercise plan together with the veterinarian.
No zero diets
Under no circumstances should you put your four-legged friend on a zero diet. Such radical cures usually only bring short-term success and are also harmful to health. Because not only the fat reserves are reduced, but also the muscles.
The rule of thumb for losing weight
As a rule of thumb, the dog should lose about 2% of its body weight per week, i.e. around 400g for a 20kg dog. To do this, the calorie intake is reduced to about 60% of what the dog would need at its ideal weight.
An example: The ideal weight of the four-legged diet candidate is 25 kg. A 25kg dog has an average energy requirement of 1130kcal. For weight reduction, the animal should only receive around 680kcal per day.
In fact, these values are only for orientation, because depending on posture, movement, or body condition, the dog may need a little more or fewer calories. It is best to weigh the dog once a week and adjust the amount of energy to the success of the diet.
Diet food fills you up faster
Basically, you can reduce the amount of food you are used to or feed a special diet. Nutrition experts nowadays recommend a diet with a calorie-reduced special food. Because it ensures that the dog is supplied with all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals that it needs. In addition, a diet food fills you up better than normal food, so that the dog does not have to suffer from hunger while losing weight.
No more extra treats
But no matter how good and balanced the diet may be, it is of no use if the dog keeps getting a “little something” on the side. Instead of a treat for a well-solved task, play with your dog as a reward. If you cannot do without culinary bribes, subtract the calories contained in the reward bite from the daily ration.