Naples Safari Animal Hospital & Pet Resort

    Canine feeding and exercise recommendations.
    If your dog is middle age or older, make sure hypothyroidism and hyperadrenocorticism  are not medical reasons
    for your dog gaining weight.  Blood tests can screen for these conditions.  

    Dogs should be fed twice daily, so total caloric content/day should be divided in half for each feeding.  Amounts
    should be measured carefully. Remember to figure any treats given in the daily tally.  If compliance is difficult,
    consider having us pre-measure and package daily meals and treats for your dog.  

    Consider using a reducing diet.  These diets are designed specifically to help your dog lose weight.  They are
    beneficial in that they help your dog feel satisfied while calorie intake is reduced.  They also insure that all of
    your dog's  nutritional requirements will still be met when caloric intake is decreased.  

    We currently recommend PVD OM and Hills  W/D and R/D - both have shown to be effective and highly
    palatable. They are both available in both dry and canned formulations. Hill's Healthy Advantage is also a great
    choice.  Not only is it low in calories, but it helps keep teeth clean, has glucasamine and chondroitin as well as
    essential fatty acids for skin, coat, and joints. It is surprising how varied calorie content is in different pet foods.  
    Click here to find out how many calories in your dog's food:  Calories

    Substitute attention and play for treats.  If you usually give your dog a treat after a bathroom break, consider 5
    minutes of fetch, a hair brushing or a belly scratch instead. If you do give treats, use reduced calorie treats or
    substitute a couple of Kibbles from your daily amount.

    Add liquid to each meal.  Adding a little bit of water to canned food to make a "gravy" can make your pet feel
    more full.

    If your dog is "food obsessed" and always seems hungry, consider adding Slentrol  once daily.  Slentrol is a drug
    made by Pfizer that works by blocking some fat absorption which sends signals to the brain suggesting that the
    dog is full, thereby decreasing appetite.  We have had very good luck with this protocol.  Find out more here.

    An active lifestyle will help your pet burn more calories.  This does not mean letting your pet out in a fenced yard
    - even if it is large - overweight dogs are rarely active enough on their own to significantly increase their
    metabolic rate.   If your dog is obese or arthritic the best place to start is with leash walks.  Walks 2-3 times daily
    will increase lean muscle mass and burn calories.  Fetching the ball is good exercise, but obese dogs , especially
    large breeds like Labradors and Goldens are at increased risk for knee injuries with these high impact, "turn on a
    dime" activities.  Swimming is also an excellent activity for overweight dogs.  If your dog is not used to walking
    consider building up the distance gradually. Click here for tips on walking with your dog.

    For some people,  health limitations might prohibit frequent brisk walks.  Consider these alternatives:

    Consider DayCare 2 or 3 times a week.   - If your dog sleeps most of the day or if you are unable to exercise your dog, Camp
    Safari DayCare is a great alternative.  We have full day and half day programs.  Dogs have lots of outside area to romp and one
    on one attention.  Find out more about daycare here.

    If your dog gets along with others, consider a trip to the dog park 2-3 times a week.  Your dog will enjoy the activity,
    and it is fun to socialize with other dog owners.

    If your dog does have a dog Buddy, schedule playdates to benefit both pets.

    Hire a dog loving neighborhood  boy or girl to give your dog a healthy walk daily.

    Encourage activity by using interactive toys that require your dog to "solve the puzzle" to get a treat.  Use low calorie treats or
    kibble to encourage your dog to get up and moving.

    Chase the dot - Cats aren't the only ones who enjoy laser pointers.  A 10 minute game of laser chasing a couple of times a day
    requires minimal effort and burns calories.
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Naples Safari Animal Hospital & Pet Resort, Inc
239-592-1950  on Vanderbilt Beach Rd just East of Livingston Rd.
Hours M-F 7:30-5:30 Sat 8:00-1:00