08 May Is Your Dog Tipping The Scales?
Many times when I am training, we will take the clients dogs to the park for work on our loose leash walking. More often than not I will see several dogs that are overweight and some so overweight I don’t know how they got out of the car! What is a good thing is obviously these owners realize it, and are out doing something about it. What is a scary thought is that many owners don’t.
It is really very simple, dogs put on weight the same way we do. To much food, to little exercise. Breeds such as Labrador Retrievers, Beagles, Basset Hounds and Golden Retrievers are very susceptible to packing on the extra pounds.
From my experience with my dogs, it may even be the food. I had been feeding my one Mastiff four cups a day of a specific brand. She always looked as if she was carrying an extra 5-8 pounds. When I switched her food, (and it isn’t a weight loss food) after just a short time of feeding her the same four cups a day her waistline began to show again.
Another reason could also be something due to specific health conditions. So if your dog is getting a sensible diet and enough exercise, please consult your veterinarian.
To see if your dog is trim, stand behind him and place your thumbs on the dog’s spine and fan out your fingers. With your thumbs lightly pressing down on the spine and fingers on the ribs, slide your hands gently up and down. As you start you should be able to feel the ribs slightly. Continuing down the body you should be able to feel the bumps of the two pelvic bones without pressing down too hard. If you have to squeeze through layers of fat to detect the ribs, or worse, if you cannot feel them at all, it’s time for your portly pet to shed some weight.
Another way to check if a dog is overweight is to examine your dog’s profile. The area between the ribcage and the hips where the abdomen tucks upwards from the bottom of the ribcage to the groin is commonly referred to as the ‘tuck-up’. Fit dogs have a noticeable tuck-up area; in obese dogs it is non-distinguishable. Do keep in mind though, that the depth of the tuck-up depends on the breed of dog – hounds tend to have a deeper tuck-up whilst most breeds have a moderate tuck-up and few have a non-discernible tuck-up.
There are all kinds of exercise programs that are being introduced for your dog. They have dog yoga, called “doga”, I have seen classes for Pilates for dogs, and of course there are the dog treadmills. There have been several new treadmills that have come on the market just in this last year for the dogs. Just be very careful if you do get one, especially in your training the dog to use it! Go slow, as the last thing you want is for the dog to become fearful of it!