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More than half of dogs are considered overweight by their veterinarians, according to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention.

Give your dog the ingredients for a lifetime of health

Overweight dogs might seem cute, yet owners may be surprised at the toll extra weight takes on their four-legged friend's health. Carrying around those added pounds affects a dog's longevity, mobility and happiness. In some cases, being overweight can cause them to suffer more severe symptoms like hypertension, heart disease and diabetes.

In fact, more than half of dogs are considered overweight by their veterinarians, according to the Association for Pet Obesity and Prevention. Yet only 23% of pet owners actually class their own dogs as overweight, according to a survey by Darwin's Natural Pet Products. Darwin's research also showed that only 12% of dog owners are even concerned about their pet's weight.

So, how can you tell if your fluffy friend is healthy? If you can feel your dog's ribs with gentle pressure but you can't see them, your dog is probably the ideal weight. If you can't feel their ribs, your dog may be overweight.

At Darwin's, your dog's health is the utmost priority. In addition to choosing high-quality and nutritious dog food, these five tips can help your dog live a long, healthy life for many years to come.

Get up and play

Burning calories matters for your dogs too. Brisk daily walks or energetic indoor playtime are great ways to entertain your dog and maintain their weight. You might find yourself taking more walks around the neighborhood, so it's great to bring your dog along as well. If your pup needs to cut some pounds, play encourages them to get moving, reduces boredom, and keeps their bodies and minds sharp. Plus, it boosts your mood and gives you some quality time with your pet.

Avoid free feeding

Auto-dispensing food canisters are convenient, but unless the food is only released at a particular time, they may encourage your dog to overeat. The extra few seconds it takes to measure and pour your dog's food at breakfast and dinner can make all the difference.

Ban table scraps

Although it may seem like a convenient way to deal with leftovers, much of what we eat is not good for our dogs. Try to refrain altogether from giving your dog anything from your plate or letting scraps accidentally drop from the table.

Safeguard your trash cans and low cabinets

Put a secure lid on your trash so your pets can't sneak into it when you're not looking. It'll save them from eating potentially rotten food, and it'll keep you from cleaning up a mess later. Some breeds may be able to open cabinets that have a reachable handle, so make sure these are secured and guarded.

Limit treats

Giving your dog lots of processed treats is like humans eating too many cookies or potato chips. Although it's hard not to give into those begging eyes, processed goodies with ingredients like peanut butter and pork can pack on extra pounds if they're given too often. Try experimenting with healthy options like blueberries or carrots, and substitute these as rewards for tricks and looking cute.

How Darwin's pet food is different

Tukwila-based Darwin's Natural Pet Products delivers healthy, raw pet food right to your door. Darwin's pet food is made with the highest-quality ingredients, sourced locally and naturally, and contains no harmful or unnecessary additives. Dog and cat food formulas are available, and they exceed the expectations of AAFCO and the National Research Council for canine and feline nutrition.

If you'd like to start buying your pet food from Darwin's, or you'd like to customize your next home delivery, you can visit their website and talk to a Pet Food Advisor.