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My Dog is Becoming a Porker

Your handsome Labrador retriever Parker has always been a charmer. Parker’s shiny-looking coat has made him a favorite with both the canine and human ladies; and his high-energy nature has helped to keep your dog in tip-top shape from puppyhood. Since Parker reached middle age, though, he has begun to gain a few pounds in all the wrong places. Because you don’t want your favorite pooch to risk joint pain, diabetes, and liver problems, among others, you want to nip this weight gain in the bud. You’ve asked your Broken Arrow veterinarian to assess Parker’s overall health and design a weight management plan that will meet your dog’s needs.

Is Your Pooch Overweight?

First, perform an unofficial test to see if Parker really is overweight. If he’s currently within his healthy weight range, you should be able to feel Parker’s backbone and palpate his ribs. If you have to really dig your hands into Parker’s ribs before you can feel them, he’s a bit too pudgy in that area. Also, when you stand over Parker and look down, you should notice a “waist” between the back of Parker’s rib cage and his hips. If this description doesn’t fit Parker at all, he needs to lose some weight.

What’s Behind Your Dog’s Weight Gain?

Just like humans, if Parker burns up all the calories he consumes each day, he’ll probably remain at a desirable weight. On the other hand, Parker loves to eat, often snarfing down his food and the cat’s kibbles, along with anything that’s left on the counter. Now he’s tired, so he sacks out for a good snooze.

Of course, all those calories have to go somewhere, so Parker’s body stores them as fat. Unfortunately for Parker, Labs and their little pug cousins are famously susceptible to weight problems. And regardless of the breed, older dogs tend to really pack on the pounds.

Revamping Your Dog’s Diet

Your vet can help you balance Parker’s calorie consumption/burn numbers. First, write down everything Parker eats each day; and detail your dog’s exercise habits. While you’d like to fudge the numbers in Parker’s favor, don’t do that, as it prevents the vet from getting an accurate picture of Parker’s habits. After studying Parker’s eating and exercise patterns, your vet will prescribe a food plan that provides your dog with optimum nutrition for his age and activity level. Feed Parker from his own bowl, and listen to your vet’s advice regarding treats.

Finally, get your couch potato moving, as that helps him to burn extra calories, increases his resting metabolic rate, and shrinks his appetite. Your Broken Arrow vet can provide suggestions on safe exercise options.

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