Pet Obesity: How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight

How to Start Your Dog on an Exercise Plan

Ease your dog into exercise the same way that you would ease into exercise. Think about it, if you've been a couch potato for the past few years and you suddenly decide that you want to run a marathon, you aren't going to run 26.2 miles the next day. You'll slowly train to reach that goal. It's the same thing for your dog.

Start with 10 minutes of running or walking and build from there. Then add 5 minutes per week until you reach 30, 45 or even 60 minutes, depending on the stamina and weight of your dog.

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How to Change Your Dog's Eating Habits

You're probably feeding your dog too much food. Many dog owners make this common mistake: they free feed (fill the bowl all the way to the top with food and leave it out all day) or they don't measure the amount of food accurately per meal.

As a general rule, your dog should eat 2 to 3 percent of his ideal body weight per day. That means a 50-pound dog should eat 8 to 12 ounces of food twice a day. If your dog has been getting way more than that ratio, bring the amount of food down over a couple of weeks as you increase his exercise. Please don't put your dog on a crash diet.

Don't worry, dogs do adapt to change way better than humans do—so you don't need to give in to those big brown begging eyes. Instead play a quick game of fetch or hide and seek to keep Fido moving, happy and healthy.

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