In America, pet obesity (specifically, dog obesity) is one of the most prevalent topics discussed while at routine vet check-ups. Obesity is becoming a very serious epidemic due to the number of disorders that stem from it. It can lead to issues such as skin disorders, orthopedic diseases and chronic inflammation, kidney dysfunction and diabetes. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, a study conducted in 2016 conveyed that veterinarians across the country found a staggering 54 percent of dogs were overweight or obese, and 98 percent of veterinarians concluded that obesity is a significant problem and is steadily increasing.
So, you may be asking “How much should my pet weigh?” Luckily, there are a few tips and tricks to staying within the desired Body Condition Score. The desired number for all pets, regardless of breed and age, on a scale from 1–9, is a 5. You should be able to easily feel the ribs, without being able to see them. Your dog should exhibit an “hourglass” like figure. There should be a distinct upward slope that follows from their chest upward to their stomach. Think of your dog as giving the appearance of being lean, yet muscled and fit.
The first trick is keeping your dog happy, but most importantly healthy. Talk to your veterinarian about a desired caloric intake that your dog should consume. Most feeding guidelines on labels are a generalized recommendation and don’t take into account your dogs’ specific activity level or breed. Don’t forget to include treats into your calorie count.
Secondly, be sure and measure out the cups of food. A standard 8-ounce measuring cup is the ideal way to divvy up and serve their food. Also, understand that the total number of cups being fed is for the entirety of the day, not per feeding.
Thirdly, provide quality nutrition for your animals. A whopping 99 percent of veterinarians agreed that quality nutrition can increase your beloved pets’ life expectancy. Find a dog food that contains the appropriate ratio of protein, fat, and carbohydrates along with high-quality ingredients.
Finally, be sure to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise for the day.