Like humans, pets such as dogs can also become obese and face the challenges associated with such a condition. Your German Shepherd may start experiencing some health complications if you don’t do anything about their excessive weight, and that’s why you should know the acceptable weight limit for the dog.
Talking to your vet can help you determine if the dog is obese or if their large size is okay. You can also look for some of the common signs of the dog being overweight yourself before seeking professional advice from the vet.
For instance, if you look at the dog from the side and notice their belly tucking up, then you should be concerned. If the dog’s waist is also not visible when seen from the top or side or if the dog’s stomach is on the same level as the chest, then you should also be concerned.
Helping the Dog Lose Weight
There are several options you can try to get the dog to lose weight. Some of them include:
Check the calorie intake
If order to do this properly, you need first to know the appropriate amount of calories your dog is supposed to take, depending on whether the dog is still a puppy or if it’s an adult.
Failure to find out that information will lead to constant overfeeding which will make the weight problem worse. Although most dog foods come with the recommended portions for the dogs, it’s better to ask for professional advice when trying to reduce the size.
Most of the time, reducing the calories to 10% or 20% works, but other times it could fail if the dog isn’t very active. The level of reduction is also determined by the weight of the dog, and that’s why talking to the vet is important.
Remember that it may take some time before you start seeing the results you want, so you should practice patience.
Reducing the meals
By reducing the amount of food you’re feeding your German Shepherd, you’ll be helping the dog to shed off a few pounds.
If you’re one of the pet wieners who ensure that the dog’s bowl is full all the time, then you should start giving them food at specific times. If you decide to feed the dog multiple times in a day, make sure you reduce the amount of food you give them.
Use measuring cups to determine the exact amount you’re giving the dog every time and try to space the feeding times evenly. Try to provide the dog with healthier foods, and if you can, give them home-cooked meals. Vegetables should be a major part of the meals instead of just providing processed or meat-based foods.
Reduce the treats
Every pet likes treats, and your German Shepherd isn’t different. You probably feel great giving them treats, but the more you do that, the more you’ll be making it harder for them to lose weight.
Limit the number of times you give treats and only provide treats that have low calories and low sugar. Remember that giving out treats will also affect the feeding behavior of the dog because the German Shepherd will probably eat less.
By giving out healthy treats, you’ll lessen the quantity of food the dog will eat during mealtime and will make it easier for weight loss.
You can also give dried treats because those don’t have any preservatives and are therefore healthier. Such treats are also made without additional flavors and maybe boring for the dog at first, but you have to avoid switching over to the flavored treats.
Remember that the main aim is to help the dog lose weight even if it means giving them treats they aren’t excited about.
Exercises should also be part of the dog’s daily routines, even as you practice the meal regulation routines. Don’t just assume that the dog is getting enough exercise but put in some effort in ensuring they exercise for at least 1 hour daily.
There are several exercises you can look into that are suitable for both indoors and outdoors. As you progress with the exercises, you can increase the time to 2 hours as long as the dog can handle it.
It’s also important that you don’t overwork your German Shepherd with too much exercise.
Walking the dog and jogging are some of the good exercises to try out. Still, you can also get creative with other exercise options that allow both of you to have fun. While exercising the dog, you can also do your exercise and reap the benefits as well.
The right foods
Sometimes giving the dog foods that aren’t suitable can lead to weight gain. You should, therefore, check the type of food you buy or make for the dog. When selecting a premium dog food for your German Shepherd, it’s important to choose a formula designed specifically for large breeds. Look for a food that contains quality protein sources like chicken, fish, or lamb as the first ingredients.
Avoid fillers like corn, wheat, and soy which can trigger allergies. The food should also contain glucosamine and chondroitin for joint health. Some top-rated premium dog food brands for German Shepherds include Blue Buffalo Wilderness, Taste of the Wild Pacific Stream, and Wellness Core Large Breed.
Give your puppy a food that is made for puppies, and adult GSD should get large-breed formula dog foods. Always check the packaging of the foods before buying to ensure that you only end up with the right ingredients and nutrients. This is the best way to ensure the dog gets good nutrients.
When reading labels, look for a crude protein content of at least 22% for puppies and 18% for adults. The crude fat content should be around 8% to 15% to promote skin and coat health. Following these guidelines when selecting a food will provide your German Shepherd with optimal nutrition.
Reduce the stress
Stress can also make it harder for a dog to lose weight, so you should try your best to ensure you create a conducive environment for the dog to be relaxed. Making your dog happy doesn’t mean giving them as many treats as possible. It just means you don’t overwork the dog or put them in stressful situations knowingly.
When the dog is happy, they will make most of the weight loss mentioned above easily. They’ll eat less and appropriately even when you change their diet and will be compliant with the exercise routines. If you’re not sure about the best exercises, you can talk to your vet.
Working with your vet is still the best option for your dog’s weight loss process. The vets have professional knowledge regarding all the options above. They will make sure that your dog continues to receive the essential nutrients, even with the altered dieting.
Remember to remain consistent with the changes until you achieve the desired goals. It’s also important to stay vigilant and watch any changes in your dog’s body and behavior to discover the additional weight before it gets worse. The sooner you pick up on their weight gain, the easier it will be to lose that weight.