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OLD AGE AND RELATED CONDITIONS: OBESITY

As the years go by, dogs need more care and attention, in particular during their final years. Just a few weeks ago, we talked about the main health conditions faced by old dogs. Today we’ll be focusing more specifically on one of the most diffuse issues to affect old dogs: obesity.

When Toto is no longer a young puppy, it’s normal to see him become insecure, lazy and in need of help – just like us humans. What we must try to do is to keep close to them and try to care for his health, from his diet to his exercising routine.

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Old dogs tend to gain weight because they become more sedentary, their metabolism naturally slows down, and all the energy that made them run and never sit still when they were young begins to fade away. Of course, some breeds are more subject to this kind of condition than others, such as Labradors, pugs, cocker spaniels, Rottweilers and beagles. In these particular cases, it’s a good idea to have them follow a vet-prescribed diet since they’re young.

Let’s take a look at some tips to help our old friend NOT to put on weight:

1) CHOOSE SPECIFIC TYPE AND AMOUNT OF FOOD. It’s important to feed your old dog with a lower-calorie diet, to keep weight gain away, but they still need proper amounts of proteins, vitamins and minerals, crucial to preserve their lean mass. As they get old, their digestive system slows down, which is why it’s a good idea to spread their daily ration into several meals.

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2) NO MORE SNACKING. It’s often that extra food, delicious and inviting and usually offered as treats, that has a negative effect on our friend’s health. Try to avoid these products as much as possible, but there are still good alternatives, such as Ferplast’s GoodBite Natural chewing toys, that look and taste like a delicious snack but don’t alter your dog’s diet – their formula keeps them from being metabolised.

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3) NO MORE LEFTOVERS. No matter how old your dog is, the smell of your steak will definitely get to him. Ignore his puppy eyes, however: if you really want to help him, try not to give him any food not prescribed for his diet, as they might cause unpleasant health issues.

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4) MOVE. We know our dogs feel less and less inclined to do anything but sleeping as they get older, but try to engage him with toys and movement (boredom causes hunger!). Brief but constant outdoor walks helps burn calories, strengthen his heart and improve the performance of all other organs, such as lungs, liver and brain. Be patient, always. And never take him out when it’s too hot and humid outside.

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