Dog Disease - Dog Eating Problems

It’s easy not to worry about a dog being a few pounds over her optimum weight – until you realize that a 25 – pound Dachshund is like a 160 – pound man ballooning to 220 pounds. And while some dogs don’t know when to stop, other turns up their noses at all your offerings. There are solutions for both problems.

Overweight Dogs:
“Obesity is the number-one disease problem in our pets today,” says Dr. Dorosz. “There are more fat dogs than ever before. The primary problem is too many calories and not enough activity.” Overweight dogs can develop all sorts of health problems and they will likely have a shorter-than-expected life span. “There is no question that a lean dog is far healthier and will live longer,” says Dr. Dorosz. She will also be able to enjoy and get a whole lot more from life.

Obesity generally has three causes: genetic, dietary or hormonally. By far the most common cause, and the one discussed here, is dietary overindulgence. But before you rush to put your vet to make sure there is no underlying medical condition. Once you’ve ready to tackle this weighty matter.

Counting Calories:
“The first thing you need to do is discover why your dog is overweight,” says Dr. Michel. Do this, she suggests, by taking a careful inventory of her diet for a few days. This way you’ll have a good idea where the calories are coming from. Is she getting into the cat’s food? Are your kids tossing her the stuff on their plates they don’t want? Do your neighbors slip her treats? Is your garbage can secure and out of reach?
“Once her food sources are under control and you know where the calories are coming from, this audit will be easier,” says Dr. Michel. “The next step is to take away unrestricted food.”

This may mean feeding the dog away from the table at mealtimes until everything is cleared away. “And clean yup your own act if you often toss her tidbits when you’re preparing food,” she adds. “Or at least count this in her total food intake.”

Once you’ve eliminated all “supplemental” snacks, if your dog is still overweight, you need to set about reducing her calories. “The objective is for her to lose body fat while conserving lean muscle tissue,” explains Dr. Dorosz. “There are commercially prepared reducing diets on the market that are primarily low in calories and high in fiber.” Indigestible fiber makes up 15 to 25 percent of the food. The dog feels satisfied because she has something in her stomach but the food doesn’t have too many nutrients. “The fat content is lower also, but protein, vitamins and minerals are kept at the regular amounts so that muscle and bone tissue are not affected,” says Dr. Dorosz.

There are some other important steps you can take to help slim down your overweight pooch:
  • Avoid high-calorie treats.
  • Have only one person in charge of feeding. That way, you have complete control over when she eats, and what and how much.
  • Feed your dog on a regular schedule and on time, so she doesn’t get too hungry and decide to self-supplement from garbage cans.
  • Give love, attention, affection and play as rewards, instead of snacks.

Each dog is different; some will lose weight faster than others. Keep an accurate record of your dog’s diet and weight loss, or lack thereof. And keep your vet informed of her progress, as you may need to discuss other strategies.

Fussy Eaters:
Nothing can be more frustrating than a finicky eater. When you’ve paid good money for a nutritious, supposedly delicious, bag or can of premium chow and your dog turns her nose up at it, the one growling will most likely to be you.

What turns a dog into a picky eater anyway? Most likely it’s you, her owner. If you change foods frequently you’re teaching your dog to hold back to see what “better” stuff is yet to come. By feeding table scraps. Whether intentionally or on the sly via an equally picky five-year-old, your dog learns there’s a tastier world out there if she just holds out. “Table food has to be more palatable to dogs than dog food,” says Dr. Michel. And smaller dogs, which are more likely to be pampered, can become very picky.

“Try mixing her kibble with a little canned food and increasing the ratio of dry food as she becomes accustomed to it,” says Dr. Michel. Moistening food with water or stock is another way to whet an appetite. “Or try warming canned food to above room temperature but below body temperature,” says Dr. Michel. Moistening food with water or stock is another way to whet an appetite. “Or try warming canned food to above room temperature but below body temperature,” she says. And if you’ve got the time, you could see how your pampered pet responds to your homemade dog food.

There’s also the dog that develops a “brand preference,” where she will eat only one type and brand of food, and of course it’s going to be the most expensive brand in the supermarket. To combat this, Dr. Michel feeds her own dogs the same three different dog foods every day in combination.