Did Buddy gain a few extra pounds over the Winter? Perhaps Rusty has simply “let himself go” as you loved him unconditionally over the years? No matter the reason your dog is overweight, it’s important to help them lose those extra love handles…without losing the love.
Did you know that your dog requires 20 – 30 minutes a day of activity a day? That’s it!
And, we recommend that you participate in this activity with your dog. This gives you both time to build your bond, creating a stronger relationship, as Fido drops the lbs.
Human / Dog Activities
Since we’ve just entered Spring, there’s really no excuse to stay indoors anymore. So, leash up and head outdoors to try some of these activities:
- Walking or running
With overweight dogs, we often recommend walking, eventually leading to running. This is because of the strain on their joints. Start with short walks to get them used to moving again.
- Lift weights
Not with doggy dumb bells, but with a backpack. Have them wear a dog backpack when going for a walk, which carries their own water, treats, and toys. And, as a side benefit, this often helps your dog walk better while on leash as it gives them a job to focus on.
There’s no need to get your pup a swim cap and googles to do laps at the pool, but, what about walking by the local lake or river as your dog plays in the water? Plus, swimming is easy on their joints so they’re not being aggravated!
Play with your dog and get their puppy grin going as they lose weight. Throw the ball for them, try an agility class, wrestle with them, play tug-o-war! Whatever you do, we’re going to warn you – you may get an ab workout from laughing while playing!
Don’t Forget Their Food
Not all pet food is created equal! And, just like us humans, activity alone is not enough for your dog to lose weight. We must consider the type of food in their diet. If you’re not sure what type of food or treats are best for your dog, we recommend talking with your vet. Once you’ve put your dog on the right food for their weight loss plan, follow these tips:
- Motivate with play and affection
This may be more difficult with some dogs, especially if they’re food motivated. But, make their reward when they’ve done something well by showing some affection. We have never seen a dog not enjoy a tummy rub!
- Measure daily food
In the morning, measure out your dog’s food for the day rather than “guesstimating” how much you’re giving them. These keeps extra calories at bay!
- Serve smaller, more frequent meals
Rather than one or two larger meals a day, spread their daily amount across the day, serving smaller portions. They receive the same amount, but not all at once.
Sometimes we just want to give our dogs a treat or find it’s easier to train them with a treat. If this is your dog, look at using calorie conscious treats.
- Human food in moderation
Sometimes those puppy eyes get the best of us, and we share our human food with our dog. If you’re still going to give you dog human food while they’re losing weight, it must be done in moderation and with safe choices. For instance, choose veggies with high fiber (carrots are often a favourite), and avoid toxic and dangerous foods (no cheeseburgers or chocolate treats!).
With a little bit of exercise and a change in their diet, you’ll soon see your pooch disappear and the svelte dog you remember return!
Ready to see just how many lbs Buddy packed on over the winter? Stop on by Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic and get them weighed! You don’t need an appointment and it doesn’t cost a thing.
Already know Rusty needs to lose weight, but need a little support in helping him trim down? Call Happy Paws Veterinary Clinic and ask us all your dog weight loss questions!