How to Help Your Dog Lose Weight
If your pup is starting to look a little round, it might be time to start thinking about how you can help them lose weight. Like humans, overweight or obese dogs are at risk for variety of health problems, including arthritis, diabetes, kidney disease, and heart disease. Unfortunately, it’s estimated that 52.7% of US dogs are overweight. If your dog falls into this category, now is the time to analyze their overall health and start working to help them live a longer, more energized life.
Here are some steps to help your dog lose those pounds!
Calculate the calories to find out how much food your dog needs.
- This step is important to work out with your veterinarian. Depending on the age, breed, activity level, and health status of your dog, their daily food requirements may vary widely. Confirm with your veterinarian that the guidelines on the food bag are appropriate for your dog.
Measure out meals.
- Once you have figured out the amount your dog is supposed to consume per day, make sure to accurately measure out that amount to ensure minimal overeating.
Give treats in moderation.
- If you are going to give your dog treats, make sure they are a healthy choice! Try to stay away from the high calorie and fat options. Choose treats that are low in calories and, as an added bonus, select ones that have a function, such as teeth cleaning. Whichever treats you give, be aware that they will be contributing to your dog’s daily intake. Too many treats will reduce the effectiveness of your diet plan. If you’re looking for an alternative to store-bought treats, veggies can be a great extra-low calorie option. Try offering your pup some baby carrots or green beans as tasty tidbits.
Offer alternative rewards.
- Most owners feel that when a dog listens or performs a trick, a treat is required for the reward. However, dogs also respond to other rewards as well. In lieu of a snack, try a different form of praise, such as a new toy or a toy that is only given in response to specific behavior.
- If you have a dog, you most likely go on at least one walk per day. An easy way to ramp up exercise is to start extending the length of that walk, or, if you have the time, bumping it up to multiple walks per day. For an overweight dog, exercise as simple as a 30 minute brisk walk can help boost immune function, improve cardiovascular health, and of course, shed those extra pounds!
All it takes is a little vigilance and extra effort to help your dog lose weight and get back on track to a healthy lifestyle!