Is Your Dog Healthy? Dog Fitness

    Is Your Dog Healthy? Dog Fitness

    Why is dog fitness so important?  Well, according to VCA Animal Hospitals, obesity is the most preventable cause of disease in dogs in North America and it can decrease a dog’s life by as much as two years.  Over half the North American population of dogs are overweight.  This is because owners have normalized obesity in dogs over the years.  The American Kennel club defines obesity as a dog being 30% or more over the ideal bodyweight.  Each breed, gender, and age of dog has a different ideal weight, and every owner should be aware of how much their dog should weigh.  For example, an ideal weight of a female Labrador Retriever is fifty-five to sixty-five pounds while the ideal weight of a female Vizsla is forty-five to fifty-five pounds.  The breeds are both considered medium sized dogs but have a different weight requirement.

    So how can you keep your dog a healthy weight?

    First, know how much your dog should eat and limit treats and table scraps.  Just like every breed has a different weight requirement, they also have different needs in the amount and type of food they eat. Consult with your veterinarian if you aren’t sure how much to feed your dog.

    Second, research the brand of dog food you feed your dog. Different brands have different supplements and nutrition. Some dogs need supplements to help sore joints or allergies, it all depends. A reputable brand should say on the packaging that they have consulted with a vet nutritionist.  According to, dog food should be at least 18 percent protein to keep your dog healthy.  All of these factors should be considered when buying food for your furry friend.

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    Third, keep your dog active.  You should take your dog on regular walks and play with them as often as possible.  Hiking with your dog is another great option which not only benefits them but also you!  According to the Blue Cross NC’s website, hiking can reduce anxiety and release endorphins in humans.

    And lastly, regularly take your dog to the vet.  Just like humans, dog’s also need yearly checkups. Besides the fact that this will help your dog’s weight, it will also just keep them happy and healthy in general.

    Tips and Tricks: The hand test

    Run your finger over your dog’s side. Next run your finger over the back of your hand, if it feels similar your dog is a good weight.  Now clench your fist and run your finger over your knuckles, if this is closer to how your dogs side felt than your dog is too skinny.  Lastly, turn your hand over and run your finger over your palm, if this is what your dog’s side feels like then they are overweight.

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