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Keeping your dog fit

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Making Tails Wag Better

by Deb D’Andrea

Obesity is not just an issue for humans, it is also an issue for dogs with 45 percent of our nation’s dogs being overweight or obese. It is our responsibility to help them stay as healthy and fit as possible; and while many believe food is love, this is not the case. A well balanced exercise routine along with proper feeding will help ensure your pup stays happy and healthy.

To determine if your pup is overweight, you’ll want to run your hands over them from the front to back along their sides. You should be able to feel, but not see their ribs. There are many websites you can visit which will help you determine your pup’s ideal weight depending upon their breed as some breeds tend to carry their weight differently than others; but the rib test is a baseline for most.

Think about how much exercise your pup receives every day. If your pup receives less than 30 minutes exercise a day, you’ll need to balance their food to help them remain at their ideal weight. For instance, a 50 pound dog requires 700 to 900 calories if they receive 30 minutes of exercise a day. Just like with humans, the more exercise, the more calories you burn and the more fuel or food you require. The amount you feed can also change with the seasons as activities vary.

As our pups age the feeding amounts vary, typically reducing over time because they are burning less calories and require less food overall. Take a look at the food you feed and determine if you’re feeding the correct amount for their age and activity level based on the feeding guidelines. As I cook for my dogs, I base their amount of food on the rib test and if I feel more rib than I should, I increase their food intake; and if I feel more cushion, I’ll reduce their food, which they’re typically not happy about.

Depending upon your dog’s health, the easiest way to shed pounds is to increase exercise. Going for routine walks, hikes and spending time letting them play with the neighbor’s dogs is a great way to help them get fit, and helps us too. Minimizing the amount of treats they receive and providing healthy sugar free treats like cut up apples or cooked skinless chicken are good alternatives to store bought treats which may have lots of sugar, flour and other ingredients not beneficial to helping our beloved pet lose weight.

Until next time. Deb D’Andrea, founder of 4TheLuvOfDogz, provides mobile Canine Massage, PawQuatics, Canine Agility and Petz Nanny Services. Her homemade dog treats are sold at local stores, and K9Birthday Cakes are available directly from her. Deb pet sits for dogs, cats, birds, fish, horses, etc. Contact Deb at 720-675-7078 or info@4theluvofdogz.com.

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