Dogs are truly man's best friend—and if you own a puppy of your own, you know that you will do anything you can to keep you little friend happy and healthy. But while it can be hard to say no when your dog begs for scraps from your meals, it can be even harder to watch them struggle with obesity and the health complications that come from that. So if you're looking for ways to prevent obesity in your pup without feeling like you're denying them good food and delicious treats, then here's what you need to know.
Provide Fiber, Fiber, Fiber
Making sure that your dog's diet is high in good nutrients is just as important as ensuring that the bad stuff stays as far away from their mouths as possible. That means loading your pup up on fiber, fiber, and more fiber. Not only is fiber key to keeping your dog's digestive system working properly, but it also helps to help them to maintain a healthy weight. This is especially important for dogs prone to gaining extra weight, such as dalmatians and labs. If you combine this high-fiber diet with one that's low in fat, you'll have a great recipe for a healthy but not overly indulgent diet.
Let the Dogs Out
Dogs can seem to have endless energy—so it's incredibly important that you give them an outlet for that energy. After all, man's best friend needs exercise regularly to stay healthy and fit just like people do, so try to keep up with each other. Regular walks and runs with your dog on a set schedule help you not to forget to take your dog out and help them work off the treats they get from learning new tricks or staying off the couch. If you're not a running person, consider investing in a long leash that lets your dog run around and play without your blowing a knee or busting a hip; you could also try playing catch with a frisbee, which will allow you to throw further to give your dog a few extra yards of exercise.
Check for Disease
It's not just the occasional bite of potato or steak that's causing the weight gain on your pup—it could also be a disease such as hypothyroidism (yes, dogs can get hypothyroidism) or Cushing's disease (which is basically the effects of an overexposure over time to cortisol). Making sure to get regular check-ups at the vet to help prevent your dog from experiencing a lot of the pain that comes with being overweight and ensure that everything is ship-shape for your dog, inside and out.