3 Little Ways You Might Be Hurting Your Dog's Health
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1. Sharing people food that even people should eat in moderation.
"Pizza crusts and ice cream are the biggest threats pets face," says Ernie Ward, a North Carolina veterinarian who founded the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention (APOP). Junk food can cause Mr. Wiggles to pile on the pounds, which is one reason that an estimated 54 percent of dogs are overweight or obese, according to APOP. Extra weight can put your dog at risk for arthritis, heart and kidney disease, diabetes, cancer, and a shorter life-span.
Pet Rx: Limit your dog's snacking, and if you do want to share some human treats, make sure they're healthy—Ward suggests baby carrots, celery, or zucchini.
Pet Rx: Some signs that your pup is going through a rough patch include decreased interest in activity, pacing at night, and a spike in appetite (dogs stress-eat, too), according to Ward. Mention these to your vet, and consider whether there's something going on in your life that could be trickling down to your dog, Schöberl says. Find ways to address your issue, perhaps by consulting a therapist.
Pet Rx: If you aren't already taking daily walks together, start with 5- to 10-minute strolls and build to at least 30 cumulative minutes a day. Feeling frisky? Play ball, swim together, or sign up for agility training, a canine sport where you lead your dog through obstacles—because you can teach a roly-poly dog new tricks.
How to spot a pudgy pet Signs of an overweight dog include a sagging tummy; enough fat to prevent you from easily feeling his ribs; a broad, flat back; and lack of a waist. All that chub may make him cute and cuddly, but it's not healthy.