Obesity and overweight cause thousands of deaths in the US every year, this is a problem that profoundly affects humans, but do you know it also affects dogs?

Approximately half of the dogs in the US are overweight, which makes them more susceptible to develop health issues such as diabetes, liver disease, hypertension, and osteoarthritis.

One of the main factors that can increase the obesity in dogs is food, and today we are going to evaluate how it can play a vital role in the health of your dog.

Although exercising can decrease the weight of your dog, it is not enough to maintain your dog’s health. If the dog eats a lot of calories, exercise won’t be able to give her/him physical stability. The diet of the dog is one of the most important aspects to keep him/her healthy. Researchers found that giving less food to a dog could increase their lifespan by 25%.

Food instructions and your dog’s weight

Food instructions can give you a reasonable estimate of how much food dogs should be eating according to their size, but there are other factors such as age and your dog’s activity level that must be taken into account.

Every dog food has recommendations on sizes based on dog’s weight. They will never be exact and in you follow them without considering your dog as a unique being; you could give her/him up to 50% more than what he/she needs every day. Talking to a vet to consult your dog’s food intake is always favorable to avoid this issue.

Decreasing your dog’s food intake

To correctly decrease the amount of food that your dog is taking, you must do it slowly. It won’t be positive if you directly reduce the amount of food by 25%, you should instead decrease 5%-10% every week and keep track of his/her weight. This control will lead you to an appropriate amount of food and will make your dog lose some pounds.

Food and your dog’s lifespan

A study published in 2007 looked into the consequences of diet restriction in dogs. The research spent two decades observing 48 Labrador Retrievers and their diets. Dogs were paired at eight weeks of age; one of them would be fed 25% less food than it’s pair mate for its entire life. After different biochemical analyses, the results were in. The dogs who were food restricted had lower serum triglycerides, weighed less and had lower body fat content. Their median lifespan was significantly longer, almost 1.8 years more than the other dogs.

Your dog’s diet should be personalized, just like yours.

Human diets usually lack information, and we see many nutritional problems among our species. We tend to standardize diets and try to fit one of them to many people; this is an incorrect behavior. Dogs’ nutritional information isn’t any better. Most food recommendations are based on observing consequences and results. However, those observations do not take into consideration all the factors that may affect your dog’s body such as the amount of activity per day, health status, and routine. Food label recommendations may provide information that is not useful at all.

The diet that works for a Schnauzer is not the same one that will work for a Border Collie, even if their weights are the same. If you feed both of them the same, after some time you will notice a difference in their weight.

To have a healthy diet and know the correct amount of food that your dog must eat, you should consult a veterinarian. The vet will examine your dog and advice you on the correct amount of food that suits him/her. Furthermore, you will get recommendations regarding the amount of daily exercise and the best routine to maintain your dog healthy and happy throughout his/her life.