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Obesity Impacts More Than Half of U.S. Dogs

Know the risks of dog obesity, and learn more about dog weight loss for healthier, happier Fidos.

Obesity Impacts More Than Half of US Dogs

It’s easy to skip walking your furry friend and instead, opt for a cuddle with them on the couch with a favorite flick (we fully understand.) However, frequent forgoing of walks with your dog could cause your pet to experience weight gain, and as few as 5 extra pounds could lead to health challenges for a dog.

It’s important to keep in mind how important regular exercise is to our pet’s health, and how the lack thereof is one of several factors contributing to the increase in pet obesity across the U.S. Review the commonalities of pet obesity and what you can do to help, including both dietary and exercise routine improvements.

How common is obesity in pets?

According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, some 55.8% of dogs in the U.S. are considered overweight or obese --- that’s an estimated 50 million doggos carting around extra pounds that could impact their health, happiness and even time on earth with us. Cats aren’t exempt, with as many as 56 million cats considered overweight or obese.

What are certain health risks an overweight dog could face

  • Reduced life expectancy
  • Diminished quality of life
  • Orthopedic disease
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Diabetes
  • Kidney dysfunction
  • Chronic inflammation
  • Cancer
  • Metabolic and endocrine disorders
  • Skin problems
  • How can you help a dog lose weight?

    Step No. 1 in helping your dog lose weight is to have a discission with your veterinarian and a thorough examination of your dog’s health before beginning any physical activity program. It’s possible that your pet could have a health condition contributing to his weight gain. Your veterinarian can give you a better idea of your dog’s current health status, guidance on appropriate levels of activity and exercises, tips on dog exercises to introduce, as well as specific caloric and nutritional needs. Ask your veterinarian whether weight management prescription pet food could aid your dog on his weight loss journey.

    What is prescription pet food, and how can it help dogs lose weight?

    Prescription pet food recipes are formulated by veterinarians and nutritionists to help nutritionally manage a variety of pet health conditions, including weight management. The diets are specifically developed to provide pets with clinically tested, therapeutic nutrition. You can find a wide range of trusted prescription dog food available from with a prescription from your veterinarian.

    What is considered healthy weight loss for pets?

    The Association for Pet Obesity Prevention states that a healthy weight loss is typically 3 to 5% body weight loss per month, based on your dog’s size and current condition. Remember, just like us, shedding pounds can take time, especially for our dogs and even more so for cats. Be sure to ask your veterinarian what is a healthy weight loss goal specific to your dog.

    Help your dog lose weight through regular exercise.

    Let’s talk about exercising with your furry BFF. If you followed step No. 1, you’ve already had a thorough examination of your dog with your veterinarian, and you’re informed on appropriate activity levels for your fluffy Fido. Here are some calorie-boosting activities to try.

  • Take a hike or a walk. Pick up the pace, though, because walking for weight loss requires a brisk clip.
  • Swimming is an excellent activity, especially for senior dogs, as it is easier on their joints.
  • Agility is a riveting exercise, and dogs will enjoy the new challenge while secretly shedding pounds.
  • Fetch! This game never gets old, and if it does, incorporate a new dog toy for them to quickly bound after.
  • Introduce your dog to a dog treadmill that is constructed for healthy weight loss and activity.
  • How could a DogPACER treadmill help your dog?

    Dogs need between 30 to 45 minutes of exercise per day, and with our busy human lives, sometimes this can be difficult to fit in. The dogPACER dog treadmill provides the perfect solution to our busy schedules. Every day is a perfect day indoors to walk or run your dog, and weather is never an issue. A study of over 1,000 dogs demonstrated that a dog exercise treadmill gives your dog the needed cardio and mental release to live a happier and more balanced life. Always avoid using human treadmills, as dog pacer treadmills are quiet, streamlined, and safely designed specifically for dogs.

    Why can’t dogs use a human treadmill?

    Human treadmills are built for upright control. The control panel is at a level that a human can easily control when walking or running. With the computer in the front of the machine at a low level, you can control everything when your dog is on the treadmill. Human treadmills also have no side panels; the side panels on the dogPACER treadmill helps to keep the dog focused on what is in front of them. If they are on a human treadmill, they could be blocked from the front, which does not allow for easy exiting off of the treadmill. Human treadmills can be loud and cause your dog to become scared.

    What things should you consider before using a dog treadmill?

    Be sure to consider your dog’s size when starting them on an exercise plan with the dogPACER treadmill. Small dog breeds will have shorter legs that may not go as fast as larger breed dogs. Make sure to start your dog out on a low speed and slowly increase the speed to a point your dog is comfortable with. Make sure your dog isn’t going too far forward or that their feet are not going off the back of the treadmill. Consult with your veterinarian about treadmill use, especially if your dog has any specific physical conditions like hip, joint or heart conditions.

    Combining a healthy diet with exercise on the dogPACER treadmill will help ensure your dog’s healthy weight and happiness. Nutrition fuels their health and is the best way to get your dog to a healthy weight. Once your dog has become comfortable with exercising on the treadmill, you can establish a routine for them. Praise is very important for your dog; just as you’re there alongside your walking and workout buddies, cheer them on! Let them know you’re proud of their success. Remember to incorporate regular outdoor stimulation for your pets, such as socializing your dog and taking them on walks, hiking, or other outdoor activities as outlined above. Outdoor stimulation is an important part of your dog’s lifestyle for optimum health and happiness.

    Browse pet health favorites from veterinarian-founded Valley Vet Supply for more tail wags and healthy, happy trails with your dog.

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