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Getting your dog back to a healthy weight

Posted March 12, 2014 in Advice Column, Des Moines West

Winter can be a terrible time to keep your weight under control and maintain an exercise program. The same can be said for our pets. They easily manipulate us into giving them treats for attention especially when the weather does not allow us to redirect their behavior outside.

Not sure if your dog is too heavy? Use the knuckle test. If your dog’s ribs feel like your knuckles when you make a fist your dog is too thin. If the ribs feel like your knuckles when your hand is flat then they are just right. If, however, the ribs feel like your knuckles on the palm side of your hand then your dog is too heavy. Measuring the amount of food fed to your pet and accounting for all treats will help you decide if you should reduce the amount of calories offered or if you should try a new food with fewer calories per cup.

Our pets can learn to walk on treadmills at home. So throw the ironing off the treadmill and start your pet slowly and on a leash. Start with small amounts of time and increase their duration. Walking will do far more for your pets than jogging, so keep it normal paced. If you are not sure you want the challenge, Ingersoll Animal Hospital can get your pet treadmilling right here in the hospital, and with regular weigh-ins we can help you monitor your pet’s healthy weight.

Information provided by Dr. T.J. Frye, DVM, Ingersoll Animal Hospital, 3009 Ingersoll Ave., 274-3555.

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