Numerous medical conditions can arise as a result of a dog being overweight, and a weight loss program can get your pal living a healthy lifestyle again. At Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center we can help by tailoring a program specific to your dog’s needs.
Risks of Obesity:
- Heart disease
- Arthritis in joints
- Increased risk of cancer
- Higher risk of organ diseases
- Increased blood pressure
- Difficulty with hot environments
- Overall shortened lifespan
The list of dangers for obesity in dogs goes on and on, but the main idea is that it exponentially increases their risk of pain-inducing, life-threatening diseases, and disorders. Obesity can be the result of an overly comfortable routine, but it can quickly cause problems that would make a dog’s life uncomfortable.
Being in a hot and humid environment almost year-round is a part of life in Tampa, Clearwater, and St. Petersburg and extra fat make dealing with it much harder on dogs. Fat insulates the body, retaining heat. An obese dog’s respiratory system is weak, to begin with, and being hot can complicate the issue.
There are typically two reasons why a dog becomes obese and one less common one:
- Over-eating (Increased Calories In)
- Under-exercising (Decreases Calories Out)
- A less common problem is a poor endocrine function such as hypothyroid or Cushing’s.
The simple combination of these two factors leads to obesity in dogs. If a dog is eating and not exercising, they can gain weight. If a dog is not only inactive but eating more than recommended, they are going to gain a lot of weight. It’s easy to let your dog lie around, eat, and sleep; it’s what dogs do for most of their day. Everything should come in moderation, though.
Fortunately, if you are in the Tampa, Clearwater or St. Petersburg area, our rehabilitation center is close by and can provide the right diet, physical conditioning, and medicine for a complete weight loss program for your dog.
Keys to a proper diet for your dog:
- Reduce the amount of food
- Substitute current food for a low-calorie choice
- Create a schedule for feeding your dog
- Eliminate or minimize feeding your dog your food
- Feed your dog its healthy treats
Making a plan for feeding your dog is also smart, as most eat once or twice a day. Creating a routine will make it easy on you and your dog.
If you feed your dog scraps of your food, you also need to break that habit. It can be fun to satisfy your dog’s craving for a taste of your food, but human food can interfere with a dog’s diet. Not only can many of the foods we eat be terrible for them, but the amount you feed them can also add up as the day goes on. In order for your pet to progress and reach a healthy standard, you will have to minimize the table scraps.
Dietary supplements for:
- Daily nutrients
- Cardiovascular improvement
- Bone and joint strength
Depending on what your pet’s needs, nutritional supplements may be beneficial for a weight loss program for dogs. Supplements can provide extra nutrients, and other supplements can help improve weakened parts of the body during the weight loss program.
Physical exercise is the most significant step, but also the most fun
Weight loss programs are much more effective with exercise. Luckily, Tampa Bay K9 Rehabilitation Center can accommodate any dog with the exercise plan and equipment they need to fulfill this goal.
Hydrotherapy is a useful solution to not only arthritic pain that an overweight dog may have, but also is an excellent form of general exercise. Exercises can include swimming in a shallow pool or using an underwater treadmill.
We also have plenty of dry-land exercises that utilize stairs and ramps. Remember, exercising isn’t all about losing weight, it’s about having fun, too! Physical activity will add a whole other dimension to an inactive dog’s life, and any dog is sure to enjoy it. Dog weight loss programs are a progression, so they will never be worked beyond their limitations.
We are often asked if swimming is a good replacement exercise instead of underwater treadmill therapy. The short answer is “no.” Joints produce healing factors when they are “loaded.” No gravity provides this force. Too much loading such as a dry land treadmill is counterproductive when healing is occurring. But, if one is in a column of water, we can control the weight displacement on a joint while still loading it. Swimming provides no joint loading, but it does provide an active range of motion and cardio.
Starting a Weight Loss Program for Dogs
You can be sure Dr. Mark C. Brown has a plan for your pup to lose weight while having fun and staying happy. As a Certified Canine Rehabilitation Practitioner, Dr. Brown has had experience with engineering solutions for injured, post-surgical and debilitated dogs since 2004.
See what our St. Petersburg facilities have to offer and come in for a visit; it will give us the chance to show you the full potential of what a weight loss program can do for your dog. You can also request more information by contacting us online or giving us a call at (727) 521-3518. We are confident we can make them fit and healthy again while spurring energy and animated joy!