Just like humans, pets are at the risk of gaining excessive weight. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, 54% of family dogs in the United States have severe weight issues. Dachshund obesity is a common concern among Doxie owners because of the dog’s weakness for food and habit of overeating.
Obie, the Dachshund, has become a social media sensation after it got rid of 54 pounds of weight in a year while successfully overcoming obesity. The Doxie weighed 77 pounds, almost thrice its ideal weight, and was a perfect example of acute obesity in Dachshunds before it was put under rehabilitation. Now at 8, the dog has become a symbol of the fight against obesity, thanks to the astute care of its foster family. His success played a part in educating Doxie owners about Dachshund obesity and how to deal with it.
Why Is Dachshund Obesity A Cause for Concern?
Misguided love and overfeeding are the primary causes of Dachshund obesity. The cute Doxies are enthusiastic about food and largely successful in charming their owners into obtaining lavish treats. With the intake of more calories than their bodies can spend, it is natural to gain weight. They fail to recognize obesity in their dogs until told by a vet.
The matter turns worse with most owners lacking perception about healthy weight for their pets. They even differ with vets with regard to eating habits, nutrition, and weight of their dogs and continue to be unmindful of obesity in pets.
Fat Doxies do not look cute or funny and are more likely to have a shorter lifespan with health disorders. Dachshund obesity forces them to live with an enhanced risk of diabetes, disk disease, thyroid disorder, and joint problems. The threat of osteoarthritis, breathing problems, hypertension, skin disorders, and kidney disease also looms large.
Tips To Prevent/ Reduce Dachshund Obesity
Here are a few tips learned from Obie’s life to help Doxies maintain a healthy weight and avoid falling into the trap of Dachshund obesity.
Know the Ideal Weight
With differential opinions with regard to the health, size, food benefits, and nutritional requirements of these dogs, it is often difficult to form a common opinion on their ideal weight. A physical examination of your dog’s ribs, lumbar area, tail, and the head is often required to help a vet determine his ideal weight, depending on fat deposition and physical characteristics of your Doxie. Dachshund obesity is discernible when the present weight exceeds the said measurement by 10 to 15%.
Focus on Calories, Not Lavish Treats
Your Dachshund loves lavish treats, and this is the foremost factor contributing to his obesity. If you are really concerned about Dachshund obesity, cut down on these treats and streamline his diet. Based on the daily activity, age, and physical build of your Doxie, you can find out how much calorie your pooch needs. Check every food label or cup for calorie intake and ensure his daily activity schedule allows him to spend every bit of surplus calories.
Diet is Key To Prevent Dachshund Obesity
Instead of the quantity of food, focus on the quality of nutrition in the food. Avoid processed or packaged food that has added calories. Even the so-called canine weight loss diet is not a good choice to prevent Dachshund obesity.
Food marked reduced “lite” or “reduced calories” actually increases hunger pangs in your dog. Filled with high carbohydrates, it helps satiate his hunger for some time. However, they experience even greater hunger pangs after the food is digested and tend to eat more than the last time.
Even when feeding premium brand foods to your dog, be attentive to its ingredients and total calories in every ounce.
What Type of Food is the Best To Prevent Dachshund Obesity?
Ensure your Doxie has home-cooked meals and snacks. While cooking for your dog, refrain from guessing the amount or portion size. Always resort to precise measurements and provide your pet with a calculated amount perfect for his calorie needs.
Good food for Dachshunds should have a good amount of protein, low fat, and below-average calories. Protein is essential to help the dog maintain good muscles while low fat keeps it away from becoming flabby. Even if it eats more, low-calorie diet means there will be no weight addition.
Alternatively, you can go for a mix of high-quality kibble or commercial dog food with home-made meals. This high protein and low-calorie combination also meets your obesity prevention goal without slowing down your Doxie.
Put in Place an Eating Schedule, Avoid Binge Eating
Stay away from free choice feeding if you are really concerned about Dachshund obesity. Never allow your dog the freedom to have food 24 hours a day or whenever it seeks. Free choice eating allows him to eat even if he is not hungry and just to beat his boredom.
Instead, you must stick to an eating schedule. Plan out a diet chart for your Doxie and serve him food in smaller meals only at specific times – three or four times a day. Ensure all meals taken together suffice the daily calorie needs of your dog.
You may use an automatic feeder to feed your Doxie if your job does not allow you to follow a regular schedule.
Don’t Give Into Your Doxie’s Begging
You cannot determine when your cute Doxie is begging for food persistently. But you have got to be strict and should not fall to his appeal. If you give in, the dog will get into the habit of begging and eating food beyond their usual diet. This can be an extra addition to the sufficient daily diet given to your Doxie and could put him at the risk of overeating.
Such practice may also lead to a constant craving for food, spoiling your efforts to help your Doxie avoid the risk of Dachshund obesity.
Also, it is a good idea to limit the use of food as a reward. However, if you ever use food as bait, ensure such treats are few and there is less high-protein food. Replace it with fun or other non-food rewards.
No Dachshund Obesity Control Without Daily Exercise
Obesity occurs because we eat more calories than required for our day-to-day activities. This is true both for a Doxie and his owner. So, chart out a regular exercise or play time plan for your dog. Find out what type of outdoor activities your pet loves and how suitable he is for exercises.
Make sure your Dachshund is not an eating machine, burning almost no calories. Perhaps you do not want him to turn into a couch potato. Make sure he accompanies you on your morning walks. Encourage kids to play with him. Swimming is another great option. Motivate him to run, climb stairs, and play for 20 to 30 minutes daily. Never miss your dog’s participation in doggy day events.
A Good Lifestyle
Don’t allow your dog to be a sedentary, couch potato. Keep him active and on a healthy diet. Periodically check if diet and exercise have desirable effects. Keeping a healthy weight is more beneficial than a fluctuating weight.