Humans spend a lot of time fretting over weight issues, going to drastic measures to prevent and fight obesity. What about our pets?

Being overweight seriously impacts our health and that of our pets. A growing problem in people and pets, obesity is expanding with close to 70 percent of adults and nearly 54 percent of cats and dogs in the United States as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention.

Sleep apnea and shortness of breath is just one of the complications of excess body weight. The disease, known as Hypoventilation syndrome also affects our pets and can lead to serious breathing problems. Many other health problems common to overweight dogs include pancreatitis, diabetes, heart disease, disc disease, ruptured cruciate ligaments, hip dysplasia and other joint disease, compromised immune systems and several types of cancer.

Older dogs will find it much easier to get around if they aren’t overweight. Losing weight can be a challenge especially for older dogs, but a study shows that dogs fed 25 percent fewer calories than their free-fed littermates lived nearly two years longer and showed less signs of aging, while enjoying an extra three years of pain-free mobility before developing canine arthritis.

Always check with your veterinarian on a diet that is best for your dog. For canine weight loss, some veterinarians may recommend:

  • More protein and less carbohydrates
  • Less high-fiber foods
  • Home-made diets
  • Include specific fats
  • Reduction in portion size
  • Measuring foods
  • Limiting treats

Your dog’s weight maintenance or weight loss should be a family project. Get everyone involved in your pet’s well being, including exercise. Discussing diet plans and exercise routines can encourage a healthy lifestyle for the entire family. Finding the right dog toys to spark your dog’s curiosity and encouragement of healthy activities is key. Hero dog toys provide a wide variety of fun activities with toys engineered for specific play in mind, like fetching, retrieving and foraging toys that are made with resilient materials and eye-catching colors and textures.

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