Dogs Need Protein
Obesity is a common problem in dogs. Identifying the causes and following a total weight management program can result in controlled weight loss and maintenance. A total weight management program includes evaluating your dog, then modifying behaviors and successful dog weight control.
Definition of obesity
Obesity is defined as an increase in body weight beyond the limitation of skeletal and physical requirements, resulting from an accumulation of excess body fat.
Causes of obesity
Obesity is caused when caloric intake exceeds caloric expenditure. This simply means that a dog eats more energy (calories) than he uses and stores the excess energy.
Factors contributing to obesity
- Age and Sex
- Spay/neuter status
- Diabetes mellitus
Fat and carbohydrates
Dogs use fat as their primary energy source. An overweight dog stores fat more easily if the calories are consumed in the form of fat than if they are from carbohydrates. An overweight or obese dog should be fed a low-fat, high-carbohydrate diet to restrict calories available from fat, which is important for dog weight control.
Fiber and fatty acids
A normal fiber level, provided in a moderately fermentable fiber source, helps create and maintain healthy digestion. This is especially important for the dog on a diet. Some weight-loss foods for dogs dilute calories with high levels of fiber. High-fiber foods may reduce the digestibility and absorption of many nutrients, including fat. These foods reduce weight by providing what would be considered poor-quality nutrition. These high-fiber diets also result in large, frequent stools and decreased skin and coat condition. Dog foods such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Weight Control, which provide essential fatty acids like those found in vitamin-rich fish oils, help maintain your dog's healthy skin and coat despite lowered fat levels.
Gradual Weight Loss
The goal of a good weight management program should be gradual weight loss. Dogs should lose 1% to 2% of their initial weight per week. This can be achieved by reducing the caloric intake by 30% to 50% of maintenance.
A total weight management program can lead to successful weight loss in the obese dog. Before beginning any weight-loss program with your dog, discuss it with your veterinarian. Remember, your support is essential to your dog's weight-control success.
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Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.
4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food
1. Introduce the new food gradually.
When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:
- Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
- Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
- Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food
At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.
2. Watch your body language.
Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.
3. Don't give in to demands.
Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.
4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.
Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.
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