Over 20% of dog owners think that their dog has normal weight when in fact the dog is actually overweight or obese according to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention. Just to make sure, feel around your dog’s ribs and spine, and if you are not able to find the ribcage, your dog is probably overweight according to pet WebMD. Once you have established that your dog is overweight, it’s time to take action. Exercise and changing the dog’s diet are effective first steps, but you need to be cautious if you are also including medication in your dog’s weight loss routine.
The Pharmacological Approach
Please do your research before you give your dog any medication. Dog owners may turn to drugs that suppress the dog’s appetite; drugs that reduce fat digestion; and drugs that increase metabolism to help their dogs. For example, Dirlotapide works by reducing fat digestion and appetites and is approved for administration to dogs. Your dog may show side effects such as diarrhea and vomiting especially at the beginning of treatment.
The Side Effects
You may even notice you dog salivating more than normal or developing constipation. The dog will also show reluctance to eat, which is the intended effect of Dirlotapide anyway. Always consult a vet if the side effects worry you! However, drugs as weight management aids should only viewed as short-term interventions. Modify your own behavior as the dog owner to prevent your pet from gaining weight in the first place. For example, instead of giving your dog treats as a reward, you can take your dog for a walk.
Supplements For Dogs
The world of human and pet supplements is full of snake oil salesmen. In fact, mineral and vitamin supplements do not really work on humans according to a study by the National Institute of Health. They analyzed vitamins such as A, B1,B2,B3, B6,B9 and also beta carotene, zinc, iron, magnesium and selenium and more. So vitamins may not work as an alternative for real food for your dog. Again if you are not sure how to help your obese or overweight dog, consult the vet.
Considering The Breed
There are certain dog breeds that are more prone to obesity. It’s helpful to be aware that the ever-popular Pugs, Golden and Labrador Retrievers as well as Newfies, Cocker Spaniels and Bichons all have a propensity to pack on the pounds, so watching their weight while ensuring a healthy diet and adequate exercise is even more essential than usual. According to PetMD, beagles, bulldogs, dachshunds and basset hounds round out the dog breeds most likely to be overweight.
While supplements might help your dog shed a few pounds, the key really is the age-old concept of burning more calories than you consume. Feeding your dog responsibly and exercising regularly is always the best way to maintain a healthy weight.