Pet obesity is a growing epidemic. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, more than 52% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Nearly 18% of those dogs are in the obese category. This is a staggering number and a large concern for experts in the pet health field.
Obesity can be as detrimental to a canine’s health as it is to a human’s. Dog obesity can lead to serious health problems including:
- Damage to bones, ligaments and joints
- Heart disease
- High blood pressure
- Respiratory issues and trouble breathing
- Decreased liver function
- Digestive disorders
- Decreased immune system function
…and much more. Adding extra weight to a dog’s body puts unnecessary stress on the body and virtually all his major organs. The added stress on his body can result in some serious health problems and is sure to take years off your dog’s life.
RELATED: The Best Dog Food Storage
Of course, the best way to prevent your dog from joining the staggering number of overweight pet’s in this country is to portion his food and make sure he gets plenty of exercise. One entrepreneur in Sioux Falls, South Dakota has created a way to help parents easily portion their pets’ food without the hassle of measuring cups.
It all started when Aaron Maguire found out his dog, Bailey, was overweight. He needed a quick and easy way to portion her food. Unfortunately he couldn’t find what he was looking for on the market.
Bailey is a very food driven dog. She is unable to free feed and control her own portions. This means Maguire needs to portion out the correct amount of food for her, or she would continue overeating until she made herself sick.
That’s why he created the Portion Paw. It’s a dog food scoop that you can clip right to the food bag. It easily measures how much food you’re feeding your pet without having to mess with measuring cups or trying to find your loose dog food scoop that someone did not put back in the right place.
The Portion Paw measures one cup, ½ cup and 1/3 cup, so you can properly measure food for any size pet. This product is made from BPA-free plastic, and it’s an easy way to control the amount of food that you give to your pet.
Depending on the type of dog food that you feed your dog and his weight, there will be a feeding guideline on the dog food packaging. It’s best to stick to these guidelines unless otherwise directed by your veterinarian. Remember, that if you’re feeding a diet made with quality ingredients and the protein source is the number one ingredient (which you should be), you’re going to be able to feed your dog a smaller portion than other commercial dog foods.
Dog foods with fillers and artificial ingredients do not contain as many nutrients per serving as better quality dog foods that contain whole foods and real meat. Higher quality foods pack more nutrients into a smaller serving, meaning your dog won’t need to eat as large a quantity but will still receive everything he needs for a healthy, balanced diet.
RELATED: Top 5 Best Canned Dog Foods
Dog food manufacturers have to have a guaranteed analysis done on their products. This means that they have to know how much protein, fats, carbohydrates and other nutrients make up their product. They use this information to make the feeding recommendations that are printed on the dog food packaging.
If you’re concerned about your dog’s weight, it is best to have a conversation with your veterinarian. They will give you specific instructions for feeding based on your dog’s individual needs. For example, if your dog is obese it may be beneficial to cut his food back to slightly less than the recommended feeding guidelines. Your vet will know if extreme measures like this are necessary.