Pup parents love to spoil their dogs, and sometimes, that means too many treats… and a little extra weight gain! And since the only thing more important than their happiness is their health (which results in overall happiness, of course!), we try to help them stay fit so they can live the longest, fullest lives possible.
We at iHeartDogs asked Dr. Michel Selmer, DVM, CTCVMP, for some pointers on how to get chubby pups to trim down. Also known as “The Caring Vet,” Dr. Selmer is a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist (CVFT) who uses principles from Traditional Chinese Veterinary Medicine (TCVM) to treat his patients.
Below, read Dr. Selmer’s advice on how to help your canine companion drop some pounds:
If your dog is overweight, the first thing I recommend you do is have your dog checked by a veterinarian, as there are diseases that can cause weight gain (i.e. thyroid disease) and/or look like weight gain (i.e. Cushing’s disease). If your dog has an ailment that results in weight gain, you must treat the disease and not the weight gain… make sense?
Once your dog’s health has been cleared, now we can tackle the weight issue and not a disease. These three things will help your dog maintain a fit physique:
1. Proper time to sleep and rest.
If your dog does not get enough rest/sleep or endures a lot of stress, it will cause the release of stress hormones that, among other things, can cause weight gain.
2. Diet, diet, diet.
I am not only talking about how many calories your dog is getting each day, but what kind of calories he/she is getting. Energy requirements and diet customizations are things I do in my practice to help dogs stay fit and healthy. (Consult with a Certified Veterinary Food Therapist [CVFT], like Dr. Selmer, for a customized plan on how to feed your dog wholesome, natural meals.)
If your dog does not burn more calories than he/she eats…well, then, your dog will gain weight. Another thing I do for my clients and patients is help design exercise programs that owners can do with their dogs. It keeps everyone fit as a fiddle, (wink wink!).
We want to thank Dr. Selmer for sharing his knowledge with us. If you want to learn more about taking a holistic approach to your pet’s healthcare, check out his book The Best of Both Worlds: An Advanced Guide to Integrative Veterinary Care for Happier, Healthier Pups. You can also check out his website and follow him on Facebook.