Dog Weight Loss
If you don’t give your dog more to eat than it needs, it won’t be overweight. If it is already too fat, you can get it back into shape by regulating its diet. If you have a reasonable amount of willpower, reducing your dog’s weight will be a fairly simple matter.
Weigh your dog. Let us say it weighs sixty pounds. Find the sixty-pound mark on the left side of the graph. Follow this line until it strikes the curve. From that point on the curve, drop straight down to the baseline. There you will see how many calories needs-1,900 a sixty-pound dog.
Or you can work the graph backward from the calorie line to see from the diet your dog is getting compares with its actual needs. It is getting two cans of a good grade of dog food, plus three large dog biscuits, three candies, assorted tidbits from the table, and a bowl of milk every night. Let us figure out just the first two items. Two cans of food have good calories, three large dog biscuits (one-half pound each) have 2, zoo. That makes a total of 3,1oo calories, when only what is necessary is 1,9oo. Add the table scraps, candy, and milk and your dog is getting nearly twice what it requires.
This will explain why it weighs ninety-three pounds when the correct weight for its breed is sixty pounds. How are you going to reduce your dog’s weight? There are two or three ways. First, you can feed it 1,9oo calories, and knowing that a working dog needs many more calories than an idle one exercises it enough to take off the excess weight. By exercise, we don’t mean walking around the block. You can easily find ways of real exercise.
Hitch your dog to a wagon and give the neighborhood youngsters rides; take it for ten-mile hikes, if you are energetic; or make it retrieve. If you throw a stick or rubber ball only fifty yards and the dog runs after it and brings it back, remember that seventeen retrieves will mean it has run for a mile. If it is very fat, you will have to accustom it gradually to this exercise, a little more each day. But if you do make your dog exercise, the fat will melt away provided you and the rest of the family all see to it that it gets its 1,90o calories a day and no more. The dog won’t be starving until it has used up the energy stored in its excess weight.
When it is down to sixty pounds it still will have plenty of fat. The second method is underfeeding. Switch to a different diet, say, dehydrated dog food. You know it is good for your dog but so different that it won’t eat at first. Fine! The less the dog eats, the more of its fat it consumes. By the time it is eating the new food well, considerable weight will have been lost. Then feed your dog half its daily caloric requirements and its fat will melt away by this method too. It is well to give a complete vitamin capsule with the food once a day while the dog is losing weight, because it may not have sufficient vitamin content in its restricted diet.
A combination of exercise with a restricted diet is good. But one must be cautious. Some very fat dogs become so inactive that their hearts cannot stand exercise. Their spirits are willing, but their hearts may be weak, their muscles flabby, and their lung capacity greatly reduced. In cases like this gradual daily increase in the pets’ activity is important.
Thyroid extract, which causes a dog to burn up its fat more rapidly, should be used with very great care, if at all. Owners have been known to kill their pets by giving human doses of thyroid extract. Some people find it easier to pamper a dog by overfeeding it than to take care of its health by regulating its diet. This may be easier for a time, but only for a time. The wise owner knows that obesity is dangerous to the dog and that in the long run firmness in matters of diet is perhaps the greatest kindness he or she can show the pet.
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