So your dog is fat – now what?

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Image from Flickr user Andy Henry Photography.

I recently sharing a co-working space with another dog lover, so of course we end up talking about our pets. Turns out, he has a 170 pound Newfoundland.

Let me repeat that. One hundred. And seventy. Pounds. Of big, slobbery, furry dog. That’s a good forty pounds more than I weigh (okay, thirty-five pounds, but STILL).

He admits she’s overweight, and we talked for a while about some of the tools he’s using to address the issue. After speaking to him, I came upon these 5 tips to help your pet lose weight. My colleague is already doing almost everything on the list – exercise is a problem for Freya, as he doesn’t have access to a pool and she’s a typical large, lazy dog – but I really liked the article for two big reasons:

Human companions of overweight pets really do need to consult with a vet before changing their dog or cat’s lifestyle or feeding schedule. Your vet deals with these issues every day – she will be able to eliminate any potential medical causes of weight gain, like hypothyroidism, and help you formulate a plan to slim down your pet without endangering his or her health.

Weight gain may be due to behavioral issues. Just as humans can overeat or be inactive because we’re depressed, bored, or stressed, dogs and cats may gain weight because they’re understimulated, or have dominance issues with other humans or pets in our homes.

As for my new friend with the “Rubenesque” Newfie, he’s started taking her to doggie daycare once or twice a week, and substituting some of her regular dog food with green beans, on the advice of his vet.

I’m looking forward to seeing her slim down as he brings her into the office!

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